young transporter on the truck with face mask and protective gloves for Coronavirus

Distributors, cleaning managers and building service contractors (BSCs) alike weathered one of the most difficult years for global supply chain logistics in 2021, with hope that the following year would alleviate some of the strains on key cleaning products amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of these issues centered on a lack of available transportation workers both in the trucking and seafaring industry.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, however, the the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 Omicron variant continues to wreak havoc on transportation employment and is expected to for the foreseeable future. While companies are attempting to lure in potential employees with higher wages, both truck drivers are seafarers in many instances believe the pay raise isn’t worth the logistical nightmares of border closures and travel restrictions due to the virus. 

Data from the International Road Transport Union indicates nearly 20 percent of available truck driving positions aren’t taken, and several particular reasons are leading that charge.  

Potential Quarantines

Certain countries, such as China, implement strict shutdown orders if too many cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in a region. These ‘COVID-zero strategies’ often don’t take into account whether or not an individual is a citizen or just a truck driver delivering goods. As a result, drivers don’t want to take the risk of not being able to return home for an unknown amount of time just by getting caught in the wake of a shutdown. In some instances, quarantines can last weeks.

Unvetted Interactions

Especially with longer-scale shipments that cross many borders — often with varying levels of infection or vaccination availability — drivers run the risk of exposure simply by completing their route even if they themselves are taking every personal precaution to prevent infection. With other options for employment available, it’s becoming easier for both seafarers and truck drivers to select an occupation that inherits far less risk. 

Traffic Disruptions

In countries such as Romania, truck drivers are calling it quits to avoid brutal traffic jams that can extended for over 30 miles and cause drivers to wait up to 18 hours at a time in their cabs. An executive for a transport company in Europe noted that for countries with especially high case rates, these disruptions are more likely. 

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