MASURY, Ohio (WKBN) – Trucking has changed in the past six weeks, and we can expect it to keep changing as the economy re-emerges.
There was a surge for many items carried by trucks during the second half of March, but once stay-at-home orders went in place, the consumers cut back.
“They’ve been spending it or holding it on essentials more than, ‘I want a washer, dryer or a car,'” said Joe Kerola, president of P.I. & I. Motor Express in Masury.
P.I. & I. Motor Express has 400 flatbeds, which haul mainly metals. That heavy industry business is down 30% based on loads, miles and revenue.
Kerola feels it’s because people aren’t getting out.
“Until we do that, I don’t see the economy recovering because I don’t know how it’s going to until the consumer starts spending, and it seems like a lot of them are very concerned,” Kerola said.
P. I. & I. Motor Express took part in the Payroll Protection Program and has pledged no layoffs.
The other side of the business is the van and reefer, or refrigeration. Cardinal Logistics hauls those items for groceries and other supply chains.
They are starting to see some orders come through.
“It’s just going to be that slow start-up and the biggest impact is going to be the unknown in the industry,” said Frank Demain from Cardinal Logistics.
Spending has plummeted with most people requested to stay at home. That means fewer loads until those people can get out and start buying again. Then, you will see more trucks back on the road.
“How fast will it grow and how fast will it get back to normal? That’s the tough thing,” Demain said.
Less than two months ago, people looked at truckers a lot differently, not wanting to get stuck in traffic behind one. Society is now seeing them as much more essential.