As trucking companies work to stay safe and efficient during the outbreak of COVID-19, they are receiving more and more support from their business partners in the process. These partners are working to offer free and discounted services to trucking carriers and manufacturers and to help employees across the trucking industry stay easily informed on all safety-related information available regarding the pandemic.
For example, TruckStop.com is currently offering trucking companies and freight brokerages free and premium services through its digital freight marketplace. The website also plans to give many of its partners free and discounted resources that will total over $10 million in value.
“Like everyone else, we’ve seen and felt that this is an unprecedented time in our life and certainly in the industry,” said Bill Vitti, TruckStop.com Chief Commercial Officer. “We also felt compelled to do something because we know that the owner-operators and drivers are putting themselves in harm’s way, and they’re literally driving to the front line.”
TruckStop.com is also providing a month of free premium service to the first 10,000 non-customer carriers and brokers who sign up. Additionally, those who are already customers will get a free month of subscription to FreightWaves SONAR, a freight market analytics tool.
“Same with FTR Transportation Intelligence,” said Vitti. “They offered two months free of their subscription, which looks at the pulse of the industry–both rates and forecasting. ATBS [an owner-operator tax and accounting firm] has offered payroll protection and loan-application services for small businesses. You can think about the demand for that today from a broker and carrier perspective.”
Additionally, fleet-representing insurance brokers at Hub International Ltd. have been working to bring truckers the critical information they need to stay safe during this time.
“We have been providing education to our clients,” said Hub International’s vice president of fleet risk services, Steve Bojan. “We have created a COVID-19 resource center for all of our clients. We’ve had a couple of webinars on the subject. We have put out materials that included a risk bulletin on driver safety.”
Trucking companies have been implementing these materials by distributing them efficiently to drivers and other staff through emails and bulletins. According to Bojan, many companies are working to find easier and more consistent communication with drivers during this time as well.
“The biggest thing is this creation of awareness at the tactical level so that drivers have a better idea of what do do,” said Bojan. “They’re kind of isolated, and one of the other things we’re beginning to talk about right now is “How do we stay in better contact with drivers?’”
Transportation intelligence platform and video-centric safety program, SmartDrive Systems Inc., also began recognizing truck drivers on the front lines of COVID-19 by launching its Everyday Heroes in Transportation program in order to recognize hard-working drivers, fleet managers, and dispatchers.
“During these trying and unprecedented times, professionals across industries are stepping up,” said Steve Mitgang, SmartDrive CEO. “As a small token of our continued appreciation for truck drivers, SmartDrive is recognizing the valiant efforts and sacrifices made through our Everyday Heroes in Transportation program.”
Fleets can nominate employees meeting the program criteria by telling the story of that worker to SmartDrive, which will choose weekly winners and offer them $100 gift cards.
“It’s great to read each of [the stories] and see that the commonality between all [of them] was drivers’ selflessness and attitude toward getting the job done,” said Mitgang. “Even with deliveries outside their normal routes to COVID-19 hotspots or potential exposure to the virus, we are seeing–and reading–about how drivers are taking every extra precaution to stay healthy while delivering these vital goods.”
While these comapnies are offering recognition, education, and free services to workers throughout the trucking industry, even more trucking partners are offering their support in other ways.
The American Trucking Associations recently reached out to law enforcement organizations across the country to reiterate truck drivers’ status as a critical workforce, the large role they play regarding the nation’s economy and wellbeing, and the importance this status holds for both the industry and law enforcement across America.
In response, the national Fraternal Order of Police, an organization representing 350,000 police officers throughout the country, sent a letter to President Trump reinforcing that “truck drivers, truck stop and rest area workers, maintenance and repair technicians, dispatchers, towing/recovery and roadside assistance workers, warehouse workers, and intermodal transportation personnel [should] be considered essential critical infrastructure workers for the duration of the Coronavirus 2019 [COVID-19] pandemic.”