It surely would be the understatement of understatements, when talking about 2020, to say it’s been quite a year. This has been a year like nothing any of us has ever experienced, and a year we would prefer not to experience again.
Lives have been lost, lives have been turned upside down, lives have changed forever and we have discovered a new word, a ‘new normal’. This year has forced everyone to examine their lives and reassess just what is important and what is not so important.
While many industries are talking about a permanent move to more working from home, that movement is going to have a much lesser effect for the trucking industry. So much of our work is hands on and trucks still need a driver, for now. Having said that, how many drivers would choose to sit at home with an Xbox controller driving a truck remotely down a remote highway? It just wouldn’t be the same.
A lot of the functions in a transport operation can be done remotely and certainly will be in many cases, but we are quite a conservative industry, so many have returned to normal working already. One of the joys of working in trucking is the banter, and it’s just not the same via Microsoft Teams.
One positive change was the hero status afforded to the trucking industry early on in the crisis as trucks kept the supermarket shelves stocked up for the panic buying spree the initial lockdown instigated.
This improved image will fade over time, but it is nice to be the good guys for a while, before the attitude slips back to the car driving public’s default position of monster trucks spoiling the lives of other road users.
Another factor this year was the massive shift over to online shopping and a boon for the lighter local trucks handling door to door delivery. These guys have had a bumper year and the truck makers have a hard time keeping up with demand for trucks under 10 tonnes. Sales have boomed, in what was expected to be relatively quiet year.
This boom at the local delivery level has faded recently as some consumers have avoided online shopping, because delivery times have become more erratic and they want to guarantee the goods will arrive before Christmas. According to a report by HERE technologies, five per cent of those surveyed said they were avoiding online retail this Christmas a result of experiencing late deliveries during COVID. Many started Christmas shopping in October to avoid possible delays.
That reminds me, I better get online and do my Christmas shopping. It’s been quite a year and at the end of this particularly traumatic year, the team here at PowerTorque wish you all a Merry Christmas and we will be back in, what we are hoping will be, a less eventful New Year in 2021. All the best!