COVID-19 affects freight transportation in different ways every day

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Many consumer goods that have been considered high-demand for several weeks are still not being replenished on shelves quickly.

Experts say the delays are due to how COVID-19 is affecting a new part of the supply chain differently every day.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak there was an increase in volume for the transportation of consumer goods. More trucks were on the road transporting supplies, products, and consumer goods to the proper manufacturing and distribution centers.

And although the demand for many of these goods is still high, the volume of freight trucks on the road has decreased.

“What used to be a daily operation that everybody understood and it worked like clockwork has now become finding creative solutions and workarounds,” explained Yellowhammer Logistics president Nick Beaty.

And there are no less than a million factors that play into how products are manufactured and moved.

“A lot of it has to do with the workforce,” Beaty said. “There are not guys there to unload containers, because some of these places we have guys calling in sick, some have lowered their workforce.”

Freight is constantly still moving, but it’s not a system that can be planned for or predicted.

“We are seeing supply chains move day-to-day. The ebb and flow is hourly,” Beaty said.

Companies are offering incentives for transportation workers to stay at work and stay healthy.

“If you pay attention you’ll see a lot more trucks sitting in retail parking lots, spacing themselves out,” Beaty said. “They’re following the social distancing protocol while being in a truck, they’re trying to stay away from each other too.”

Slowdowns in the supply chain change every day. Right now, keeping transportation workers healthy and on the road is a high priority.

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