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March 22, 2021 8:00 AM, EDT

A Year of Pandemic: ATA President Spear Lauds Drivers as ‘Soldiers on the Front Lines’

Four pandemic imagesDriver with mask by andresr/Getty Images (clockwise from top left); vaccine vial by Liam McBurney/Pool via AP; COVID-19 virus by Getty Images; UPS truck carrying vaccine at Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo by Morry Gash/Pool/Associated Press

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The supply chain has come through severe trials since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, by the World Health Organization. Trucking and related organizations describe the challenges and their progress.

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As the country endured the coronavirus pandemic by mostly staying at home, truck drivers kept moving to ensure businesses were stocked and grocery stores were filled with food and supplies such as toilet paper.

American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear acknowledged the adversity the industry faced during the historic year.

“Last March, we didn’t know what we didn’t know, but it became clear just what an important role we were going to play in getting the country back on its feet,” Spear told Transport Topics.

“Truck drivers became soldiers on the front lines of our response to the pandemic: delivering food, medicine, [personal protective equipment] and other essentials that made our long quarantines possible,” he said. “And now, as the tide is turning, delivering the literal shots in the arm we need to finish the fight.”

Also, as an association ATA saw that same flexibility and resilience, Spear said. “We were able to secure real wins for our industry: access to rest stops, distributing PPE and sanitizer all in the name of keeping our drivers safe and healthy. We worked with lawmakers to ensure that economic stimulus reached carriers and drivers so they could keep the economy moving. We pivoted and adapted our series of meetings and events to keep our members safe, but connected.”

In all, he said, ATA and its stakeholders hung together. “As we begin to see the light at the end of the long tunnel, we literally couldn’t have done it without trucking.”

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