As the country begins to recover from the effects of COVID-19 and society begins to reopen, trucking companies have remained high in importance to the nation’s economy. Imroj Singh, a trucking industry entrepreneur with Golden Mile Enterprises, describes how long-haul trucking is continuing to have a significant impact on the business world and the economy as a whole in the wake of COVID-19, as well as some of the new technological advances that are poised to impact the industry.
The Pandemic Economy
During the early months of the pandemic, economic activity was restricted. The pandemic forced many people in the hospitality industry out of their jobs. It also had a serious impact on the entire service industry.
As mandated shutdowns continued, long-haul truckers remained one of the most important drivers of the new economy. Regardless of economic conditions, goods needed to be moved from place to place, and long-haul truckers continued to work in large numbers.
Changes in Consumer Behavior
The pandemic brought on a series of changes in consumer behavior which may be permanent. Online shopping became even more popular than it had been previously. Some of the reasons behind the online revolution were the closure of local stores, people’s reluctance to visit local stores, and the fact that many important consumer items like disinfectants and paper products were continually out of stock.
As the pandemic has eased somewhat, consumers have become accustomed to their online shopping habits. The vital role of long-haul truckers in supplying transportation for online purchases cannot be overlooked.
As of spring 2021, the COVID vaccine rollout has enabled many sectors of the economy to reopen. Today, long-haul truck drivers are nearly back to their original routes and cargoes. Some industries remain constricted, like the auto industry, but general industrial production is up across the country, and the need for long-haul truckers has only become greater.
Technological Advances On the Horizon
The trucking industry stands to be affected a great deal by new technologies. Some industry watchers are skeptical about the impact of these technologies, but all trucking companies should prepare for their eventual adoption.
While the trucking industry is likely to be one of the last industries where electric vehicles make an impact, trucking companies should be aware that they will need to invest in electric trucks in the future. As the United States and other countries up their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint, electric vehicles will become even more important.
Another innovation that may have a serious impact on the trucking industry in the future is the self-driving truck. Automated trucks will have technological features like radar, cameras, sensors, laser detection, and 3D mapping.
These trucks are not anticipated to cause any job losses in the first years they are used since a driver will need to be ready to take over if there is a problem, but the number of long-haul truckers may be reduced in the distant future. This is not an immediate concern, but it is something that trucking companies should think about.
The public may be concerned about the safety of the self-driving freight truck, so the adoption of this technology will likely be slow to roll out.
While most players in the trucking industry have not thought about the impact of blockchain technologies, they should make an effort to educate themselves on this emerging tool. Blockchain will be responsible for removing or reducing third-party costs regarding record-keeping, protecting connected vehicles, and increasing transparency.
Trucking companies keep many electronic records, and blockchain will help keep them organized, secure, and fully accessible. The decentralized systems used by most trucking companies to keep track of their bills of lading and fuel costs are inefficient. Blockchain will add a significant layer of security while making the process easier and smoother to implement.
The blockchain revolution may eliminate the need for third-party brokers and logistics firms. This will enable trucking companies to keep more of their profits and pass their lower costs on to the customer.
This technology is already in use today, and it has helped trucking companies keep an eye on where their drivers are and how long it is taking them to make their deliveries. Most drivers have become accustomed to navigating by GPS and having their movements tracked by their employers.
SaaS (Software as a Service) is poised to impact how trucking companies run their office operations. Replacing outdated software will help trucking companies operate more efficiently while eliminating problems down the road. Affordable software solutions are available that can help with route planning and fleet maintenance.
Trucking is Undergoing Massive Changes
The trucking industry is poised to undergo many exciting changes over the coming decade. No matter what happens to the industry, the long-haul truck driver will continue to be an important part of the American economy. Imroj Singh and other trucking entrepreneurs have laid out a new course for their companies that considers technological innovations.