As the demand for essential goods deliveries continues to climb in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, truckers are busier than ever. What many people may not realize, however, is how big a role mobile apps can play in the success of a truck driver’s day.
The trucking industry has already had multiple apps in place that allow truck drivers to hop onto digital platforms and find anything from potential gig opportunities to traffic updates. While the pandemic has boosted the workload for truckers across the country, many methods of increased efficiency, such as these kinds of apps, have come to the forefront.
“Truckers are essential to our economy, and they want the latest information about trucking and coronavirus in one convenient place,” Frank Adelman, CEO of the app Transflo, said. “We are listening and now provide free resources to help the industry manage business and stay up-to-date with this constantly changing situation.
Transflo recently launched a new suite of digital tools, such as electronic logging systems and document upload capability–free of charge.
Trucker Tools, an application focusing on freight matching and digital load tracking, recently released a new version of its app in an effort to help drivers access information regarding fuel prices, industry news in relation to COVID-19, how to find open loads, and more.
“During this stressful time, it’s important to reduce face-to-face contact and access real-time information quickly when you’re out on the road,” said Trucker Tools on its website. “If you’re like most truckers, you may be struggling to find open rest areas, food, and supplies along your route due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The company says this app has over 17 different features to help truckers find solutions to these issues.
In the new version of the app, many features are updated, such as notifications regarding “if a particular shipper is doing something special for these guys, or truck stops that say ‘We are still open 24/7, but instead of a buffet, now we have packed meals for drivers to pick up” said Trucker Tools founder, Prasad Gollapalli.
A startup in Lincoln, Nebraska has also been working to offer free services to truckers via its mobile app, BasicBlock.
“Oftentimes, [truckers are] having to go into truck stops to use fax machines or having to interact with back offices and handle physical documents,” said Taylor Monks, BasicBlock founder and CEO. “For us, we provide this tool that they can use from the safety of their cab, to put a barrier between them and the high traffic areas of a truck stop.”
On BasicBlock, all of a truck driver’s necessary paperwork can be filed directly on the app, as opposed to in an office or truck stop service.
During a crisis such as this, driver wellness programs are working to get information out to all drivers–for free.
“We have been distributing that content through an email distribution list,” said Steve Kane, President of driver wellness program provider, Rolling Strong. “We’ve created our own COVID-19 wellness tips web page.”
According to Kane, these efforts were implemented early on in the pandemic, as its developers knew these resources would be needed by drivers right away.
“We’ve focused on things that are very specific to the driver community, like reducing touch points at truck stops, because there are a lot of those, educating people on how long the virus lives on different types of metals and plastics and surfaces, how they can protect themselves, how they can deal with the stress–not only for themselves, but [for] their families,” Kane explained.
Rolling Strong is also working to inform drivers on topics such as nutrition choices that help boost immune systems, truck stop hours of operation during the lockdown, open locations for drivers to get exercise, and where drivers can have a physical exam in compliance with commercial driver’s license medical requirements.
Relay On Demand is another helpful mobile app providing an electronic payment system for freight handlers and waiving all transaction fees through April, at least.
“What we have seen is [that] volumes are up, especially at grocery and cold storage distribution centers,” said Spencer Barkoff, President of Relay. “We’re doing our part to help brokers and carriers.”