International Trucking Takes COVID-19 Hit

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Many QFS trucks are not making deliveries. Intermodal transportation is being hit hard by COVID-19.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – International shipping ground to a halt when COVID-19 restrictions were implemented. Those restrictions are being felt throughout Ohio as well.

At GFS Transportation’s Columbus terminal, fully-loaded shipping containers sit in the lot. Owner of the terminal, Kevin Evans, said this is because a lot of warehouses are closed, so they are unable to deliver the shipments.

Over 20 percent of international imports to the United States come from China. Evans said that the intermodal business has been affected since China was first on lock down.

“We’re still facing the backup of the containers sitting on the ships, they can’t get in to the United States to be put on rail to Columbus – and vice versa because we use to do a lot of exports, but of course now, there’s nothing leaving the country either. So, were just biding the time until they come up with a cure,” Evans said.

Though this terminal is still operating during this pandemic, only about half the number of truck drivers are still running each day.

Some truck drivers are nervous about getting sick, so they are choosing to follow stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Mike DeWine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“I actually have about five or six staying home because they don’t want to be out around the disease, I have others that just want to get back to work because you know, everybody’s running out of money,” Evans said.

Fully loaded shipping containers sit in the terminal lot. Until warehouses re-open, they are unable to be delivered.

Keeping his driver’s incomes in mind, Evans said he tries “to make sure that everybody gets at least a little bit of work.”

The drivers who are still operating are taking precautions against COVID-19. They are no longer allowed to enter warehouses when picking up or dropping off loads. The drivers are to remain in the truck the whole time to make sure social-distancing guidelines are being followed.

Social-distancing measures are also being taken in the office. Evans works in the company building alone as other office workers operate remotely. Evans said he makes efforts to keep the drivers away from the office too. He’s been leaving driver paperwork in the mailbox and doing more communication through phone and email.

There’s uncertainty as to when this terminal will resume normal operations. Evans said he’d like to see the country go back to work.