March felt like it had 120 days. Most Canadians passed the time social distancing while stressing about health, family and finances.
Truckers, meanwhile, have been out there on the front lines.
Fleets are in high gear finding ways to protect drivers and move freight.
Truck drivers have gone from nobodies to reluctant heroes. Though many have underlying health conditions, they’re risking their lives so grocery stores stay stocked and other critical products get delivered.
Never have I been so proud to work in this industry.
When the lockdown ends — and it will — our performance in this crisis will have many long-lasting benefits.
Nearly half of Canadians live paycheque to paycheque. Combine that with record household debt and many people were on the edge financially before coronavirus.
As an essential industry, a lot of us in trucking can still work. Unfortunately, not every carrier has the liquidity to survive for long. Hopefully the aid supplied by the feds will soften the blow.
Judging by the thumbs-up I get from my neighbors on my daily escape from captivity, trucking is suddenly sexy. It’s like folks finally woke up to the fact that truckers deliver their food and other essentials.
Our response to the disruption of daily life has given the industry a boost. As a result, we’re going to attract more talented people to the profession—and get more public appreciation down the road.
While working from my kitchen table I’m checking in with customers (and industry pals) to make sure they’re OK. Typical five-minute yaks have turned into long, personal, soul-searching conversations. Without an ounce of selling, I’ve learned more about my customers in the last month than I ever have. Deep, personal relationships make for better bottom lines.
New fleets emerge
Fleet owners who used to only work “in” the business are now working “on” the business. I’ve spoken with many industry leaders who believe fleets will emerge from this more efficient, streamlined, connected to their customers, and profitable.
I could never get my head around the notion of staff working from home. But staying connected throughout this crisis is critical to supporting each other, and technology is showing old-school farts like me that people can be apart and still work together. Being nimble and open to new ways to collaborate will make our industry more attractive to younger generations.
I had never heard of Zoom until a month ago. Now it’s central to my work and social life. Not in a million years would I have thought my monthly poker games would be played virtually!
The Canadian Trucking Alliance in conjunction with the provincial associations have been outstanding leaders. Their boards have stepped up like never before. The daily updates, working to cut government red tape, and fighting to keep our drivers safe (and fed) have made an undeniable difference.
For carriers questioning the value of being a member, the proof is no longer needed. #ThankATrucker
Truckers getting regular shutouts from the prime minister, premiers and MPs across the country is definitely a first.
Frankly, I think it’s more than lip service.
Many industry insiders feel that our pleas to level the playing field have largely fallen on deaf ears. I’m hopeful the industry’s new political currency will translate into more respect and a stronger reception on Parliament Hill.
I also take comfort from knowing that we’re all in this together, and that our industry is showing just how important we are in the daily lives of Canadians.
The other good news is that, just like truckers, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy have been deemed essential services. So we’ve got that going for us.
Stay safe by staying home!
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