Its no question that COVID has had an impact not only on the trucking industry but every industry in America. From small businesses to corporations, everyone has had to adapt and find a new normal. The trucking industry adapted and became a key piece that held our economy together during the months of quarantine.
Going into the new year, it was clear that 2021 was going to be a rebound year for freight and the trucking industry according to FTR Transportation Intelligence. With this in mind, let’s look at some reasons the trucking industry can be thankful post-COVID.
The Rise of E-Commerce
E-commerce has rapidly grown since it first began, but especially since March of 2020 when COVID impacted in-person shopping habits. Overall, online shopping grew 44% during 2020 in comparison to 2019. This resulted in a significant increase in products that needed to be shipped and delivered via trucks. E-commerce and online sales are expected to stay high this year. They may drop slightly compared to 2020 due to fewer COVID restrictions, but the current volume of online shopping has become the new normal. In 2021, truckers can expect to continue to have plenty of loads to haul due to this rise in e-commerce. Traditional brick and mortar stores are also beginning to fully open back up, meaning truckers will have deliveries to stores added back to their routes as well.
Remote Work is Here to Stay
Working remotely was a huge adjustment many companies had to make in 2020. This actually greatly benefitted truck drivers because there was less traffic on roads and deliveries were made easier. Some companies even reported deliveries were made 3x quicker by truckers during this time. With how successful remote work proved to be, many companies are now allowing workers to stay and work from home in the future. This will continue to help make travel safer for truckers even after COVID because working from home has now become the new normal.
One of the more efficient upgrades we saw during the pandemic was the number of companies that added a contactless or paperless approach to their business models. New technologies were implemented due to the highly contagious nature of the virus. Electronic contracts and bills are quicker and more efficient than traditional paper. Contactless pick-up and delivery services now give truckers more options when they are on the road. Drivers no longer have to walk from their trucks to security stations or warehouses and now have the ability to do almost everything online.
The 2021 Year
Areas that are likely to continue to see strongholds and growth are grocery stores and retail carriers. The demand is still high for both industries and will be for the foreseeable future. Another industry that is going to continue to grow is final-mile delivery and medical carriers. With the continued rollout of the vaccine and medical supplies, in addition to the rise of e-commerce mentioned earlier, both should have a strong presence in 2021. If you are a new truck driver looking to get started in the industry, it would be a good idea to talk with your potential employers about the industries they are working within.
A Changing Industry
The trucking industry post-COVID will be different than it was before. Luckily many differences seem to be for the better. The trucking industry has shown it has the ability to adapt to the changing needs of its communities and continue to succeed no matter what obstacles are thrown it’s way. If you have chosen a career in the trucking industry, chances are that no matter what happens to the economy, truck drivers have to continue trucking.
One thing that won’t change in the industry is the need for professional drivers. The shortage of truck drivers continues to grow, and carriers will always need new drivers. Advanced Career Institute is proud to help train the next generation of professional truck drivers through our CDL training programs.