As Americans begin to return to work while still avoiding public places, truckers have been on the front lines throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic, delivering vital medical equipment to health care workers and key staples for our households. Often overlooked, truckers have diligently worked under incredibly tough conditions and risen to the challenge.
There’s an old saying “If you bought it, a truck brought it” and it certainly still rings true. In fact, trucks move 73.7% of the country’s freight, according to the Department of Transportation. While this is something we all take for granted, the pandemic has crystalized in our collective conscious just how important logistics and trucking companies are to every facet of our lives.
For all Americans who have been forced to cope with isolation, truckers can certainly sympathize. As part of the trade, our truckers spend days – even weeks – on the road, away from families and loved ones.
They also represent an aging demographic more at risk for severe COVID-19 illness. According to the American Trucking Associations, the average trucker is 10 years older than other comparable industries such as manufacturing and construction.
Yet, truckers still show up to the job every day, risking their own safety to keep commerce moving. Doesn’t matter if it’s a hotspot or an area less impacted by coronavirus, truckers will be on the roads and delivering goods.
Trucking companies also represent the fabric of our communities. Unlike many industries dominated by large corporate behemoths, as of 2015, there were more than 206,000 trucking companies. According to federal data, only 11% of the companies had more than six trucks. The vast majority are small businesses, mom & pop shops, sprinkled throughout the country.
At Graham Company, we’re honored to work with many logistics companies that are directly responsible for keeping our local economy churning. It has been inspiring to see some of our distribution clients that don’t typically serve the health care industry rapidly pivot their operations to meet the need.
One client specializing in distributing materials for large-scale events shifted to delivering and installing temporary hospital facilities to handle the overflow in capacity. Another company that delivers linens to restaurants doubled its efforts to clean and provide fresh medical gowns and equipment for health systems throughout the nation. A large food distributor that supplies major restaurants is now selling direct to the public, ensuring our supply chains remain strong.
These are just a few of countless examples of trucking companies heeding the call and stepping up to help during this unprecedented crisis.
It’s wonderful to see an outpouring of gratitude from our communities for the critical role truckers play in our lives. From a family in Somerset, PA who took it upon themselves to deliver snacks to truckers when rest stops were closed, to a community in Utah providing 2,000 meals at a point of entry, countless signs along the road and an outpouring on social media, there’s been a recent groundswell of appreciation.
While it’s easy to remember truckers during times of crisis, it’s important that we don’t let it slip from our minds when life, eventually, begins to slowly return to normal. Truckers are here for us now and will be then.
Trucking is the backbone of our economy and companies and their drivers are being pushed harder than ever before. We’re incredibly proud of our highway warriors.
Philadelphia, PA, 19102