The one thing that has been certain through six of the first seven months of 2020 is how uncertain things have been, especially for the trucking industry.
The arrival of and this country’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus truly is the very definition of the word “unprecedented.” Few Americans have lived through the sort of health crisis that officially began in late January, escalated, dipped, only to become reenergized in the last month. Some 4.3 million cases and almost 149,000 deaths have been reported. More of each is anticipated.
In the early days of the pandemic, truckers were labeled “essential” to the continued operation of the economy and hailed as heroes by the White House. But, they also struggled to find face masks and hand sanitizer, get hot meals, and even find a clean restroom to use. Those concerns have, largely, passed, at least for the time being.
And, Washington was quick, early on, to pass sweeping legislation that helped millions who had lost their jobs, gave consumers money to push back into the economy, and loaned money to companies, including many in trucking, to keep workers on their payrolls.
Now, as August looms Congress and the White House struggle to figure out how to continue to prop up the economy, help businesses and debate whether to aid cities, hospitals and schools. The picture for rates and freight has improved, but there are signs that some states that reopened their economies, may have to walk back some of those actions as new cases emerge at record levels.
As Vice President for Trucking at FTR Transportation Intelligence Avery Vise has analyzed all the machinations of trucking’s response to the COVIOD-19 pandemic. He thinks the industry responded logically in the early days of the outbreak and performed well. Vise, as a veteran industry analyst who also spent time as a journalist covering Congress, also believes Washington has to and will soon do something substantial to help individuals, businesses, and the overall economy for the balance of the year.
Vise also thinks 2021 ought to be a good year for trucking, and that things point to an even stronger 2022. He explains his thinking in this edition of our podcast series, Now What? In Search of Trucking’s New Normal. Give it a listen.