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Smaller trucking companies have had a range of experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some fleets have struggled to overcome the sharp decline in volume and rates, there also are positive stories.
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Boyle Transportation, for instance, has been transporting crucial medical supplies, including intubation materials and virus therapies. The Billerica, Mass.-based fleet employs about 140 drivers.
“It gives our people a great sense of pride that we are serving a direct and tangible role in the fight against this terrible disease,” said Andrew Boyle, the company’s co-president. “We are working to engineer protocols and executing them. Economic objectives and public health are inextricably intertwined and directly correlated. It is incumbent on all of us to execute on these health and safety measures until we get to a point that viable therapies and, God willing, a vaccine are available.”
Maintaining service during the pandemic required a variety of changes for drivers, office workers and customers, Boyle explained.
Drivers received personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, and are being paid for extra motel use during layovers to avoid interaction. The company also established an account with a video medicine service to facilitate urgent care and testing at truck stops. In addition, cleaning and disinfecting processes were enhanced.
Most of Boyle’s 30 office employees are working remotely and are stationed 20 feet apart when in the office.
Proof of delivery and bills of lading now are being handled electronically, he said, with receivers standing 10 feet away from trucks when they arrive, instead of relying on hand-written signatures. Drivers ask for a name and capture images on a cellphone.
Despite taking on higher costs for cleaning services and lodging, Boyle said the company is proud of its efforts to take care of its employees and customers during this challenging time.
“Since this health emergency began, when I see the work our people do on a day-to-day basis, each day is now the proudest day in our company’s history,” Boyle said.
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