ATRI, OOIDA study offers insight on freight changes by customer segment

05.20.ATRI study-min

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) Foundation Wednesday released important research on impacts that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is having on all aspects of trucking operations, including deliveries, travel times, detention and truck parking.

Most importantly, ATRI and the OOIDA Foundation state the research also provides recommendations and guidance on future strategies should another national disaster strike.

“The trucking industry has weathered national disasters in the past, and is doing so again through the current COVID crisis,” says ATRI President and COO Rebecca Brewster.“However, this latest data quantifies the challenges motor carriers and drivers are facing during this pandemic to keep essential goods moving.”

ATRI says key findings include:

  • Long-haul trips are down considerably as container imports at ports dried up. At the same time, local trips under 100 miles increased by more than 100 percent.
  • While certain segments of the industry, such as medical devices, perishable foods and paper products, saw solid COVID-related increases in truck traffic, nearly 50 percent of respondents described freight levels as “somewhat” to “much” lower due to COVID.
  • Nearly 70 percent of specialized and tank truck operations were negatively impacted. In nearly every instance, smaller fleets reported greater negative impacts than larger fleets.
  • More than 40 percent of respondents said that truck parking was not any worse due to the pandemic, but by fleet size, the larger fleets did describe truck parking as more difficult to find during the pandemic.
  • The research confirmed that driver detention generally did not change due to COVID-19; however, owner-operators and small fleets experienced much worse detention delays relative to larger fleets.
  • In terms of disaster planning, almost 80 percent of owner-operators and small fleets do not have any plan in place for managing operations during natural disasters.
  • The trucking industry generally has a favorable attitude towards state and federal responses, policies and programs set up to address the pandemic, with the federal response viewed as more favorable than the state responses.
  • The trucking industry’s perceptions about the country’s economic situation over the next several months leans slightly pessimistic — both in terms of freight movement and consumer spending.

“This research puts solid numbers to what we otherwise only suspected,” says Andrew King, research analyst, OOIDA Foundation. “While we may be turning the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re not out of the economic woods yet.”

For more information, and to download the complete report, please CLICK HERE.

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