The pandemic changed how trucking companies conduct business. Some of these changes are obvious, such as wearing masks, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning protocols. However, COVID has influenced the trucking industry in several unanticipated ways. Here are the COVID-driven trends affecting fleet operations:
Vehicle Shortages and Increased Repair Costs
All industries are feeling the sting of supply chain difficulties. For trucking companies, this often results in challenges obtaining new fleet vehicles. Fleets have to make their existing parts and vehicles stretch for longer, which often makes repairs more costly. Given the current vehicle shortage, trucking companies have no choice but to pay for the expensive fix.
Traffic volume dipped in the wake of the pandemic due to many people working from home. However, this trend doesn’t apply across the board for the trucking industry. Trucking company travel decreased wherever a video conference could supplant an in-person visit, but delivery drivers saw an exponential increase in stops and miles driven per day. Preventative maintenance became difficult to predict, as seldom-driven vehicles have vastly different maintenance needs than vehicles experiencing a sudden uptick in mileage.
Personal Use of Fleet Vehicles
Many fleets used to operate with pooled vehicles, meaning multiple drivers used the vehicle to conduct business throughout the day. However, many fleets moved away from this model to reduce the spread of germs and potential COVID exposure. Instead, fleets are allowing trucking employees to take company vehicles home. While this reduces the potential to spread COVID, it also increases risk. Other family members may drive the company vehicle, which increases liability for trucking companies.
The pandemic has changed how fleets manage their services. Some of these adjustments were predictable, but others have exposed fleets to more significant liabilities. Contact the experts at Interstate Motor Carriers to learn how to reduce your trucking company’s vulnerability to risk.