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The logistical impact of COVID-19 will continue into 2021
Tapan Chaudhari, The President and Founder, TruckX
China has clawed back from its economic lows in early 2020, marching towards its pre-COVID manufacturing output levels. With the rest of the world still struggling to keep their factories open, demand has ostensibly picked up in China. This, combined with eastbound blank sailings and the usual holiday season demand peak, has created an extreme capacity crunch for sailings into North America from China.
Over the next year, this capacity crunch is expected to loosen, as assets return to regular functioning. However, air freight would continue witnessing record demand driven by the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain - even when passenger flights’ frequency would likely increase next year, consequently adding belly-hold capacity. Global logistics provider DHL estimates that the exercise of delivering vaccines globally over the next two years would require 15 million cooling boxes and 15,000 flights across various supply chain setups.
Electric vehicle (EV) sales have remained buoyant even during the pandemic season, as retail investors continue to push EV companies to record highs in the stock market. In 2021, EV makers can be expected to roll out more models across both consumer and commercial segments, while simultaneously building on the charging infrastructure network.
The e-commerce segment has been one of the biggest gainers over the COVID-19 season. Millions of people went online to shop for the first time in their lives, courtesy of the extended city lockdowns early this year. The work from home (WFH) concept became ubiquitous, and several companies shut down office spaces as they did not justify the running costs.
While people would return to shop in storefronts post-COVID, people who have grown accustomed to e-commerce would likely continue buying online - shaving off significant footfall numbers to stores. Similarly, the WFH option is here to stay, with employees in service-based companies opting for WFH than commuting every day for work. This environment would feed the last-mile food delivery network, as more people order food home than buy lunch at restaurants or takeaways, as was the custom in the pre-COVID world.
Such changes in personal consumption patterns will lead to seismic shifts within the packaging industry, with packaging becoming more ‘individualized’ than before. This ends up creating additional freight for the same volumes, increasing the need for trucking capacity - further putting pressure on the trucking market’s capacity crunch.
At TruckX, we see this as an opportunity for trucking fleets in the market to adopt innovative technology that can improve operational efficiencies, eventually helping haul more loads than before. Trackers were a recent addition to our product suite, which has proven to be popular in the market. We have signed on large trucking fleets like US Shipping and Capitol Express, helping them track assets and freight in real-time, while also monitoring driver behavior for truck safety.
Going into 2021, TruckX’s focus would be to set precedent for its user-friendly product suite, built over months of exhaustive research on product design. Every day, we inch closer to our goal of being a one-stop-shop for fleet management - providing carriers a seamless experience in fleet monitoring and 360-degree visibility into trucking operations at all times.
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