Tensions in the U.S. have erupted in recent days and the transportation and logistics industry is once again faced with new challenges. Peaceful protests and violent riots have sprung up in nearly 140 cities across the country over the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Cities in Canada and across the globe have also experienced protests.
Angry citizens have taken to the streets to protest police brutality and racism against the Black community in the U.S. While these protests have primarily been peaceful, violence on both sides has been escalating and tensions are rising, causing fears about public safety.
Caught in the middle are the truck drivers who are responsible for delivering freight to many of the affected areas. Many drivers are on edge as they still remember the attack against trucker Reginald Denny during the Los Angeles riots 28 years ago, which were also sparked by racial tensions.
Carriers have been reporting that their drivers are on high alert. Luckily, truck drivers these days have access to technology that provides them with real-time updates on protests and current hot spots. As civil unrest spreads, the industry could start to feel the strain.
The fact that many of these protests are taking place in large cities which also happen to be major distribution hubs such as Chicago, L.A., and Detroit, is posing an issue for the logistics industry. The unrest has resulted in citywide curfews, blocked off roads and Interstates, and closed-off areas. This has caused freight deliveries to many regions to be delayed.
Carriers are now forced to change routes and delivery times, many encouraging their drivers to make early morning trips to avoid the afternoon and nighttime protests.
Cases of looting and vandalism have also been reported, causing logistics companies located near hotspots to worry about their warehouses. Looting has also forced major retailers to either move up or delay deliveries as they clean up the damage.
The logistics industry is still struggling to recover from COVID-19, and the latest civil unrest is placing even more strain on the industry. However, companies should remember the meaningful reasons behind these protests and focus on keeping their drivers out of harm's way. Plan for additional delays, reroute according to the latest data, schedule deliveries at safe times, and encourage truck drivers to stay safe.