article image 1-18-22.jpgHow Will Omicron Impact the Transportation Industry?

January 18, 2022

Since its emergence in fall 2021, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has continued to wreak havoc on the world economy. This includes the transportation industry, which has faced a series of setbacks in recent months. These obstacles include the implementation of many new regulations hindering transporters’ ability to work effectively and efficiently. Though we are only a few months into this new chapter of the pandemic, the effects of the Omicron surge are becoming clear, and it’s not good news for anybody who works in transportation. Still, to mitigate its impact, the intersection of Omicron and transportation must be understood.

New Supply Chain Delays

One of the biggest obstacles that has emerged from the Omicron surge is a new set of supply chain delays. The variant has caused many factories and distribution centers to shut down completely — either due to illness or local government mandates — and this, in turn, has caused the transportation industry to lose revenue. With these facilities closed or producing a reduced output, there is little to no product to transport. With no product to transport, transportation professionals are unable to rely on the income that would typically support the industry. This has put many smaller transport companies out of business, and it threatens the biggest transportation providers, too.

Surge in Demand for Products

Paradoxically, the decreased availability of manufactured goods is accompanied by an increased demand for many products. This is one of the most unfortunate consequences of the Omicron variant, and indeed, it has had a serious impact on consumers and suppliers alike. High demand remains for many products in the wake of Omicron, including supplies such as surgical masks and gowns, bleach wipes, thermometers, and hand sanitizer. Many grocery items, too, have been in short supply. Chicken, ketchup, and fresh produce have been out of stock in grocery stores nationwide as food distributors are unable to meet demand while fighting the effects of Omicron.

Decreased Workforce Availability

Many of the aforementioned supply chain problems, including those affecting the transportation industry, are ultimately caused by a worldwide shortage of labor. After millions were laid off from their jobs in 2020, many were hesitant to return to work. Additionally, many of the workers who are employed are unable to work due to their own infection with the Omicron variant. A single infection can shut down an entire facility, forcing essential staff to quarantine to prevent further spread. These obstacles have dramatically impacted the transportation industry’s bottom line, but there is protection available for many of the most serious liabilities. Transportation insurance can help your clients prevent losses caused by risks most commonly encountered in the transportation industry. ◼