Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations have been lauded by some as pivotal to roadway safety and loathed by others who feel they are heavy-handed. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates under the authority of the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT). The current hours of service regulations have been in effect since 2012 and are now being eased in some areas to give commercial drivers a little more flexibility in how they use their on-duty hours and off-duty hours. The proposed changes are expected to become the new law of the land in September of this year (just in time for the 4th quarter economic rebound everyone is hoping for).
Non-essential businesses are resuming operations in at least 24 states in May. While the argument remains on whether it is too soon or not, it is none too soon for the trucking industry. April saw historic lows in the Load-to-Truck ratio and with restaurants nationwide not operating fully, or at all, as produce season isn’t bringing the boon many hoped. However, there is opportunity for a small uptick in May, the only question remaining is if some predictive models are correct, does reopening non-essential businesses too early just make things worse further down the road. Even with some economies beginning to reopen, second quarter predictions are still down by double digits with most hoping for a rebound by the end of the 3rd quarter and expecting it by the end of the year. The biggest factor in rebounding the economy is consumer confidence and a vaccine cannot come quickly enough to instill that level of confidence.
A review of the latest happenings across freight industries as well as a few discussion points about how the economy and industry begins to recover.
The week ending April 5, 2020 saw a 39% drop in available loads in the spot market. It is hard to quantify exactly what percentage of those were in the food sector, but it is safe to say that COVID-19 is now attacking the food industry full force. While the past few months have seen Global and Domestic Supply Chains bend, crumble, or come to a screeching halt, many felt we would always be able to efficiently move food to where it is needed. This past week has given us an eye-opening look at just how devastating COVID-19 is to even our most critical infrastructure sector. Eating patterns have changed in the face of stay-at-home and social distancing orders. These changes have affected every facet of the food supply chain including the consumer, the grocery store, restaurants, and the actual farm.
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, disinfectants are flying off the shelves and hand-washing remains the most touted method of prevention, but how do we clean our mail? Should we even be cleaning it? Well, rest easy: Preliminary testing suggests that you can't contract COVID-19 from mail or packages. Even if the interior contents had trace amounts of the virus, they are likely to have died by the time a package reaches you.