How Has COVID-19 Impacted the Auto Transport Industry?

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( — August 31, 2020) — The road of the COVID-19 pandemic has been long and rough, lasting longer than anyone expected. On the heels of the CDC guidelines and state mandates, adaptations across all industries have occurred to be able to accommodate customer needs.

Luckily, when determinations for businesses were made regarding what types of businesses were essential and which ones were not, auto transport made the essential business list. Now the industry is forced to make changes as we go along, navigating the COVID-19 waters as human beings and car movers.

CDC Regulations For Essential Workers

The auto transport industry, under the umbrella of essential worker classification, must adhere to the regulations set forth by the CDC in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These regulations are the minimum requirements and require adaptation to fit specific industries.

CDC regulations request that:

· Pre-Screening – Employers need to measure employee’s temperature and assess symptoms or potential for COVID-19 exposure. Preferably, this will take place before the employee enters the business.

· Monitoring – As long as symptoms are not present, the employee should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer and occupational health program. You need to be able to understand the differences between the flu, allergies, and COVID-19.

· Wear a Mask – All employees should wear a mask at all times within the workplace for 14 days after exposure. Masks can be cloth if not in the medical field. These also need to be worn anytime social distancing cannot be maintained.

· Social Distance – When applicable, six feet of distance should be kept between all employees and business patrons.

· Disinfect and Clean – Cleaning and disinfecting areas that have routine use (office desks, bathrooms, reception areas) should be done frequently. Handwashing should also be done regularly or use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not present.

COVID-19 is spread through contact, either indirectly or directly. Hard surfaces are especially prone to holding the virus, making it even more essential to clean and disinfect areas. Hand washing has been a point made since the beginning because we don’t realize just how many things we touch, even our faces. 

How The Auto Transport Industry Is Adapting To Changes

If you have ever shipped a vehicle before, you know how friendly the drivers and transport specialists are. At pickup, the driver and transport specialist likely greeted you with a hearty handshake. The three of you initiated in a conversation while walking around your vehicle, completing the Bill of Lading. You took the pen used to fill it out to sign and handed it back.

Your car would be loaded onto the trailer and off to its destination. At the destination, the same type of interaction would occur. You would then get in your car and drive away, a satisfied auto transport customer.

Everything has changed now that COVID-19 has altered the way the industry can do business. The auto transport industry, as a whole, has made adaptations to make pickup and dropoff more convenient despite the restrictions.

Different auto transport companies will have different ways that they handle the CDC minimum restrictions. Some will toe the line and only execute the minimum requirements. In contrast, others will go above and beyond to ensure customer and employee safety. Some measures you may see implemented are:

· Transitioning to digital-only paperwork, including the Bill of Lading

· Masks and social distancing practiced by drivers and transport specialists

· Carrying disinfectant wipes within the truck to wipe down hard surfaces, like the steering wheel of your car

· Disposable gloves are used when exchanging physical items, such as keys, cash, documents (if not done digitally)

· Some companies may ask you to prepare your car ahead of time, sanitizing the interior

As uncomfortable as some of these changes may seem, the most important thing for the auto transport company you choose besides your car is the health of you and their employees.

Auto Transport Companies Putting The Best Foot Forward

Even essential businesses suffered at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic. Profits suffered, restrictions were placed, but the drive to push forward for customers remained strong. Port restrictions have made loading and unloading international shipments take longer, and putting a strain on customer and carrier relationships.

The decline in auto transport needs did take their toll, and those transporters who multitask with different services faired better economically than those who only provided auto transport as their service. The only way to make it right now as a transport service is to adapt to the changes and needs of the clients, and society as a whole.