Research Confirms COVID-19 Impact on Trucking

By Wright Media staff
Joint research between the American Transportation Research Institute and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association Foundation released Tuesday confirmed what everyone in the industry has known for the last two months – the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the trucking industry in a big way.
Nearly 5,100 individual responded to the survey, which was launched in late March, two weeks after the White House declared the pandemic a national emergency. More than three-quarters of them were truck drivers (with 80 percent of those having 11 years or more experience) and 13 percent were fleet executives.

The research cited eight key findings:
Long-haul trips (500-1,000-plus miles) are down considerably as container imports at ports dried up, while local trips of less than 100 miles increased by more than 100 percent as fleets shifted to moving essential consumer goods from local and regional warehouses to retail outlets.
While segments such as medical devices, perishable foods and paper products saw increases in truck traffic, nearly half the respondents of the survey described freight levels as “somewhat” to “much” lower due to the virus. Interestingly, 28 percent described operations as about the same.
Nearly 70 percent of specialized and tank truck operations were negatively impacted, with smaller fleets reporting greater negative impacts than larger fleets.
More than 40 percent of the respondents said truck parking was not any worse due to the pandemic, but larger fleets described truck parking as more difficult to find.
Driver detention generally did not change, but owner-operators and small fleets experienced much worse detention delays relative to larger fleets.
Almost 80 percent of owner-operators and small fleets do not have any plan in place for managing operations during natural disasters, but 70 percent of fleets with more than 1,000 trucks do have a disaster response in place.
The industry has a favorable attitude towards state and federal responses, policies and programs set up to address the pandemic, with the federal response viewed more favorably.
The industry’s perception about the country’s economic situation over the next several months leans slightly pessimistic in terms of freight movement and consumer spending. More than 35 percent of the respondents believe COVID-19 impacts will be temporary in terms of industry operations, with 18 percent indicating they were considering permanent changes to their business model.
“This research puts solid numbers to what we otherwise other suspected,” OOIDA research analyst Andrew King said in a joint news release announcing the results. “While we may be turning the corner on the COVID pandemic, we’re not out of the economic woods yet.”

The complete results of the survey can be found at

Be the first to comment on "Research Confirms COVID-19 Impact on Trucking"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.