Coronavirus Chronicles: Ritch Thiessen, Erb Transport

John G Smith

Ritch Thiessen was hauling a load of kitty litter to Portland, Oregon as the satellite messages fed him with information on the border and customer requirements relating to Covid-19. The backhaul came in the form of frozen strawberries for the return trip through Windsor, Ont.

“The roads are less traveled. The urban centers, such as Chicago, are like ghost towns,” the Erb Transport driver says.

Ritch Thiessen, Erb Transport (Supplied photo)

It’s not the only thing to change. Some truck stops don’t offer sit-down dining areas anymore. “Some don’t have showers. Some don’t allow us to use the restroom or laundry facilities,” he says.

The biggest challenges he’s encountering are back home, though. “The store limits the number of water jugs I can buy, so I have to make multiple trips. Interacting with my family is very difficult,” he explains.

But he knows the general public appreciates the work.

“I am overwhelmed by the gratitude of the general public towards all the frontline workers including truck drivers.”

  • Coronavirus Chronicles tell the trucking industry’s personal stories from the front lines of Covid-19. They are drawn from the ongoing coverage at
John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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