As with everything since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Road Freight and Transport industry has evolved and adjustments have been made to adapt to circumstances from COVID-19. Border closures, social distancing requirements at depots, extra sanitation requirements, shortages, and a whole myriad of other factors mean that each branch of the road freight industry has had to find a new way of working. So what are the main changes to the road freight and transport industry in the current COVID-19 climate, and how might they affect your business?
As we will remember from the initial wave of crazed pandemic shoppers clearing out the local supermarkets, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic there were huge shortages across many different industries. These shortages were largely due to high demand and border closures disrupting the delivery of goods domestically, but also the halting of arrivals of goods from overseas. As the demand across many industries remains high, or dips between low and extreme, we may continue to see issues meeting demand or shortages for quite some time. These shortages can have lasting effects on your business and possibly your reputation, so it’s important to try to reduce the impact by maintaining a steady supply chain.
With that being said, in many cases social distancing rules as well as more people working remotely is leading to fewer employees being in warehouses and distribution centres – which can further slow down the distribution line. It’s also worth noting, with higher demand and workflow, and potentially less hands on deck, the margin for human error is higher. Along that line too, as people suffer from various ramifications of the pandemic, they may be more likely to resort to theft or indiscretions at work. Staff training and management is as important as ever in every industry as we attempt to move forward in this COVID-19 climate.
With so many possible disruptions to the road freight and transport industry, many organisations are doing their best to mitigate these risks, to reduce how they will be affected. To protect against financial losses such as a result of failure to deliver as promised, or for loss or damage of goods, it’s as important as ever to have in place a Road Freight insurance policy. It’s impossible to protect against every possibility – and the COVID-19 pandemic sure has shown us that! – but having the right insurance policy in place can at least give you peace of mind in that respect.
COVID-19 claims and extras
As with anything relating to business, it’s best to keep a sound record of it. If you need to introduce more sanitation processes, if your brick and mortar workplace is left empty while employees work from home, or if you suffer losses due to the supply and distribution issues caused by COVID-19, it’s best to keep records and evidence of all of it. This will help you if you will be claiming anything on insurance. Ensure you keep up to date with current government guidelines around social distancing requirements and lockdowns, as they can change in an instant, and may affect how you can operate your business.
Work Health and Safety
As well as maintaining strict cleaning and sanitation processes as laid out (and often updated) by the government, it’s important to uphold all Work Health and Safety guidelines as usual. With potentially fewer team members in warehouses and distribution centres, it’s possible there will be a higher risk of injury or WHS breaches, as the employees try to work faster to get through the high demand, or if there are less people to supervise heavy-lifting and sound WHS practices. Regular handwashing and sanitation (including in trucks and vehicles) is a must. In many cases, you may need to employ a third party for extra cleaning and sanitation – but it’s worth checking if your insurance policy will cover related costs before sourcing the third party for the work.
Does this affect you?
Even if you are not directly involved in the road freight and transport industry, you may still feel the ramifications from the extra burdens placed on the industry due to COVID-19. High demand, shortages and challenges along the distribution line can have a ripple effect, and it’s possible your company may suffer from it. With that in mind, many industries are thriving in the current COVID-19 climate, so it’s not all bad. Plus, each industry has started to find their feet in the pandemic, and have successfully developed a new way of working – safely and effectively – despite COVID-19.