COVID-19 has negatively affected the trucking industry as well as many other industries across the globe. While things are currently looking up in the United States, there may continue to be negative impacts from COVID-19 that will take time for the industry to bounce back from. Here is a brief overview of what has happened so far and what the trucking industry can expect for the remainder of 2021.
The initial impact COVID had on the trucking industry
The trucking industry pre-pandemic was an already short handed industry. In April of 2020, the U.S. had begun a nationwide lockdown as well as establishing which companies were considered essential. In the process of this, shipping needs outside of the grocery industry were depleting at a significant rate resulting in roughly 88,000 trucking related jobs lost.
Additionally, ports were negatively affected due to COVID-19 affecting manufacturing, shipping, and trucking industries in countries in Europe as well as China. The lockdowns taking place around the globe were halting production and slowing down when things would get imported to the U.S.
Port congestion, shipping delays, and increased rates
The United States has partly recovered from their initial trucking industry job loss however, the issue the trucking and shipping industry is facing now is the high demand for shipping and congestion at ports. Ports both on the east and west coast are experiencing major congestion from carrier vessels resulting in some companies overseas cancelling shipping containers due to the cargo not being unloaded.
The congestion at ports and cancelled container sailing is resulting in extreme shipping delays averaging four to six month delays for products. This is impacting many businesses due to the consistent demand for products but not having enough inventory to supply consumer needs. Due to the port traffic jams, there has been an increase in freight rates that companies have had to deal with and will continue to experience for the remainder of the year.
What to expect in the trucking industry for the rest of 2021
For the remainder of 2021, the trucking industry will continue to experience prolonged shipping periods due to oversea delays and port congestion. This is also impacting the cost of shipping for containers to cross the ocean as well as shipping that cargo to its designated location. While supply on certain products is low, truckers will still be at high demand for slowly allocating cargo at the ports throughout the country. The nationwide increase in gas prices will also affect shipping rates.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact has affected many aspects of the trucking industry. Trucking will continue to face difficulties for the remainder of 2021 and likely into 2022 and beyond. Part of overcoming these issues for trucking company owners is to do their best keeping trucks on the road.