January 1, 2023What 2023 Has in Store for Trucking
Dear 2023, please bring us a year of joy, health, and prosperity, leaving inflation, high gas prices, and sickness behind. When reminiscing about the last couple of years, many of us will say they were a complete blur, and we have no memory of anything between the end of 2019 and now. The pandemic has erased the last two years, but with talks of post-COVID lives and normalcy returning, what does the new year have in store for trucking?
Trucking and the Past Few Years
Before we look at what the new year is bringing for trucking, we must first reminisce about trucking in the last year or two. The pandemic put truckers in the spotlight, a long overdue notion, but was starting to impose on the freedoms they enjoy. Looking at what truck drivers were dealing with before the pandemic, during, and after things started to cool down is an emotional rollercoaster.
Before the pandemic, the trucking industry’s biggest concern was not having enough drivers to fill shortages. Other issues like how to deal with sleep problems as a truck driver or finding the best truck stops were usual culprits with little change to look for. The holiday seasons were times for truckers to make money and get ahead for the following year, with consumer purchases continuing to stay high. Truck stops were still fully operative, and truckers didn’t have to worry about COVID closures affecting where they could eat, sleep, and shower.
Trucking During the Pandemic
When 2020 started, hopes were high, especially after a solid 2019 holiday season. Truckers were ready for more mileage, and that’s precisely what they would get. When the pandemic was announced a couple of months into 2020, the country went into panic mode. Everyone rushed to stores, emptying as many shelves as possible and hoarding as much as possible in their homes. Mountains of toilet paper and other excesses of essential items lined the garage walls of thousands of American homes. Grocery stores soon began to look like ghost towns, emptying shelves faster than they could be replenished. Truckers, FedEx, and other shipping service workers became heroes and worked hard to keep things flowing. The nation soon experienced a shutdown to curb rising COVID cases, and truck drivers began to feel pandemic concerns as furloughs and layoffs circled. Luckily truckers were essential workers and continued to deliver goods wherever they needed to go. E-commerce skyrocketed as people were stuck at home with pandemic and unemployment assistance running in, so they turned to online shopping. Hoarding groceries and other household items became routine, and restocking depended on the swiftness of the supply chain.
Although we can’t consider ourselves officially living in a “post-pandemic” world with COVID cases still around, efforts to calm numbers and return to normalcy have proven effective over the years. As COVID cases started to settle, 2021 brought hopes of a slight return to normalcy, but restrictions still in place brought difficulties that continued into 2022. Vaccine mandates created turmoil at borders, causing trucker protests in Canada and other areas.
Trucking in 2023, What’s New
Rough Holiday Season for Trucking
Truck drivers were hopeful for a solid shopping season this past Christmas, but holiday spending dipped lower than expected, making for a slow season. Anticipation was high, and when orders weren’t filled, items returned to warehouses, slowing the shipping of new units. Right before the holidays, the nation saw incredibly high inflation rates, which significantly decreased the buying confidence of many.
Improvements to Benefit Trucking in 2023
The Bidden-Harris administration is continuing with infrastructure improvements benefitting all travelers. Last year, legislation rolled out to repair major roads and bridges across America, improving safety for all drivers. For truckers, this means better, safer, and faster access to drop-off locations and enhancing the effectiveness of deliveries. This year, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to improve roads and bridges in rural areas. Sometimes traveling through small towns or the countryside is necessary, and having well-maintained roads saves time and avoids having to find alternate routes.
New Year, New Regulations for Trucking
The new year often brings recent changes, sometimes in the form of resolutions or, in this case, regulations for trucking. Last year the new year brought new road work with hopes of better roads and bridges for travelers. As for this year, January 1st, 2023, marks the day that just about all trucks and buses must feature an engine made during or before 2010. Newer engines produce less pollution, which is vital for a cleaner future. The push to go green continues to affect the trucking industry, and the coming years will bring new changes.