Pandemic-related shipping delays are increasingly causing supply chain disruptions.
Truckers have faced long-term routine disruptions and delays for years—from urban congestion, traffic back-ups, constructions, accidents, weather events, and even detention at the dock. But today’s pandemic-related demands take disruption to a whole new level for shippers and carriers to address.
The role of COVID in supply chain disruptions
Even before the pandemic impacted the ground transport industry, the Department of Transportation Officer of the Inspector General reported that detention at docks cost the trucking sector a whopping $1 billion a year.
Now, truckers’ efficiency, drivers’ time, and compliance with hours-of-service (HOS) mandates are at even more risk, as delays happen across the supply chain:
- Visitor and employee temperature checks, COVID-19 forms, and other safeguarding steps all delay freight processing, creating long waiting and unloading times at shipping and receiving sites and backups at gates and docks and hampering the delivery of essential items.
- With employees out sick—or staying at home to avoid COVID-19 or care for family members—companies have fewer dock and warehouse workers. Docks have become logistics bottlenecks and may be understaffed or dealing with unusually high freight volumes–especially high-demand goods.
- And unfortunately, time spent waiting for a dock assignment and loading have all cut deeply into drivers’ workdays due to hours-of-service (HOS) requirements. Even more frustrating: Drivers sometimes remain unreimbursed for time lost.
- Many shippers and receivers now require truck drivers to sign forms affirming they have not been exposed to COVID-19 or had any viral symptoms. Some carriers even take driver and visitor temperatures.
- It takes more time for employees to get into buildings if/when they’re heading to work.
In this environment, coordination and communication are vital to avoiding gridlock and drivers who inadvertently incur added costs, expenses, and detention.
Tools that Can Help
A transportation management system (TMS) that tracks your trucks from start to finish alerts you if something disrupts the trip so you can be proactive in responding to delays. When you know what is happening within your ecosystem, you can proactively alert your customers about their shipment’s delay. Axele TMS connects to hundreds of ELDs for tracking trucks and drivers, so they remain compliant with HOS regulations.. Contact Axele today to learn more.