Working in Transportation and Logistics During a Pandemic

On April 14, 2020
empty and stocked shelves

Photo credit to Werner Professional Driver, Izet K.

Three years ago, when I started at Werner Enterprises, I was thrilled to begin my career in the transportation and logistics industry. It’s an exciting industry and every day is different. During my time at Werner, I’ve appreciated the importance of the industry and how the job of a professional driver is crucial for the economy and the supply chain. However, I speak for many when I say that the pandemic has increased my appreciation and I am proud to work in an industry that makes an impact on everyone’s life.

These days, going to the grocery store is quite an adventure. Who knew that toilet paper would be so hard to come by? In Omaha, Nebraska, we are seeing empty shelves, but my friends and family that live in various locations throughout the country all have the same experience, some worse than others. All of us depend on the supply chain and professional drivers to safely deliver these goods to our stores. Next time you walk into the grocery store and see a newly stocked shelf full of water bottles, think about the professional driver that worked long hours to get that load delivered, so you can take that item home to your family. The sight of a truck pulling up to a grocery store to unload supplies is everyone’s saving grace. There’s no need to hoard, the professional drivers have it covered.

Amid this unprecedented time, the U.S. government declared professional drivers and the transportation sector as essential critical infrastructure workers during the COVID-19 response. Through this pandemic, professional drivers, office associates and maintenance crews are all playing a part to make sure essential goods like food, water, medicine and cleaning supplies get delivered. Professional drivers are working long hours to ensure these supplies get to stores safely and efficiently. These individuals are working not just for themselves, but to help and support others around them.

Working in transportation and logistics is not just about you and during this time these individuals have felt a sense of purpose through their work. However, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been obstacles. In numerous areas across the country, drivers’ access to services like restaurants, showers and facilities have been limited or even cut off completely. It’s more difficult for these men and women to find these places and they also aren’t always able to park or go through a drive-thru since their truck is too large. Transportation associates are working harder than ever and even though times are unpredictable, many are extremely proud of what they do. These times are very difficult for all and many sacrifices are made for essential supplies to get to the shelves.

During this time, not only am I proud to work in the transportation and logistics industry, but I’m also honored to work for a great company like Werner that takes care of its people. Our President and CEO Derek Leathers has been hands-on with this entire experience by keeping us informed through videos with the latest announcements and communications. Our Senior Vice President of Logistics Matt Parry has been personally reaching out to third-party carriers with a phone call to see how they’re doing and how we can improve our business practices. Communication is incredibly important during this time and Werner has done an excellent job with updates on our COVID-19 hub and keeping associates in the loop. In my position at Werner Logistics, I’m working with a committee to send daily communications to associates with tips on how to stay productive for those that are working at home. I’m coming up with creative ideas to boost morale by holding a steps competition, conference call bingo and sharing inspirational stories of our drivers and third-party carriers on social media. In addition, I’m working with our maintenance team to ensure my floor and the Werner Logistics offices have hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. Ultimately, I feel safe, informed and I know if anything were to happen to me that Werner has a plan in place for taking care of its people.

I am extremely grateful for all the frontline workers that are truly making a difference in our country right now. I am honored to work in the transportation and logistics industry with some very hard-working men and women. Professional drivers are truly the backbone of this nation. Little did I know when I started at Werner three years ago that an event like this would happen and that we’d all be in the position that we are today. Thank you to all professional drivers and everyone in the transportation and logistics sector that’s doing their part to Keep America Moving.

Written by Kathleen T., Werner Logistics

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