3PLs: Unsung Heroes of the COVID-19 Crisis
Chris Burroughs | Vice President of Government Affairs
MARCH 25, 2020 – ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – The press is awash in stories of different industry segments stepping up to the plate in support of one another during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis. The media is highlighting the work of several professions, including doctors and nurses and their amazing work; volunteers throughout the country who are contributing a myriad of services within their communities; and truck drivers for keeping freight moving on our highways. These folks are doing amazing work during this tumultuous time. To this end, I want to highlight a group that’s also doing amazing work during this crisis and that’s you – America’s 3PLs.
Thank you for the incredible work you are doing to continue moving freight during this period of extreme disruption and uncertainty. While the reality is that with most freight, it’s the truck driver who physically hauls and delivers freight to its destination; but without YOU, that freight would still be sitting at distribution centers across the country. YOU are among the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 crisis who – without missing a beat – are keeping America moving.
My colleagues and I have spoken with several TIA Members over the last week and have heard some truly amazing and inspirational stories of community leadership and humanitarian efforts.
Bob Biesterfeld, President & CEO of C. H. Robinson, reported that in addition to contributions they made to Give2Asia during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan Province, they are donating an additional $250,000 to support those impacted by COVID-19. Specifically, they have donated to St. Christopher’s Truckers Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to truck drivers during these increased times of need; the World Food Programme, Feeding America and Second Harvest Heartland to support hunger relief efforts; and a number of local nonprofits.
I also spoke with John Miller, Owner of Plains Dedicated, LLC, who stated, “at Plains Dedicated, we are working tirelessly to ensure that our customer’s products are being delivered to our country’s grocery stores. We have seen this across the 3PL industry, with all logistics companies stepping up in support of the increasing demands. Our industry works with the medium to smaller truck lines that don’t typically work directly with shippers; and with 90% of carriers being less than ten trucks, our industry is essential to ensuring that food, medical supplies, and emergency products are getting in the hands of the people that need them. If the product is on the shelves in the store, a logistics company made sure it made it there.”
Omar Singh, President & CEO of Surge Transportation, works with a large Fortune 500 household food shipper who is inundated with calls from motor carriers and cannot handle the volume due to the tedious onboarding process and EDI integration. This food shipper is funneling these calls to Surge Transportation to manage their transportation needs.
“3PLs are more essential – now more than ever – as our shipper customers continue to lean even more on us to be their transportation management resource,” said Singh. “At Surge, we are handling more volumes for our customers, we have hired additional employees to handle the increased capacity, and we are working around-the-clock to make sure that products are being delivered to their end destination – as quickly and safely as possible. We are also launching our new dynamic pricing tool, which will allow us to quote a lane within seconds. I am proud of the response our industry and my peers have made throughout the supply-chain in this time of need.”
We don’t know how long this crisis is going to last, but one thing is for sure: TIA Members and 3PLs throughout the country will continue to be a leader on moving freight, ensuring shelves are stocked, hospitals are receiving the supplies that they need, and Americans are getting what they need in a timely fashion.
On behalf of the TIA Staff, I want to extend a sincere thank you to our members who are our heroes throughout the year for the hard work for, and dedication to, this great nation.
As a reminder, you can visit TIA’s COVID-19 Response Center for the latest information, resources, guidance, and news on the crisis.