Modern-day heroes: Trucking community keeps supply chain moving

Motor carriers taking extra precautions amid COVID-19

Port of Savannah

Drivers calling the Port of Savannah are working around the clock making sure essential supplies reach store shelves.(Georgia Ports Authority)

SAVANNAH, Ga., May 5, 2020 – As the nation faces concerns over COVID-19, Eric McCray realizes that the trucking community is the heartbeat of America, keeping the supply chain moving and store shelves stocked.

“Our drivers are essential workers,” said McCray, director of human resources for TCW. “We make sure everything runs like it’s supposed to.”

McCray said precautions in place aim to make sure employees return safely home to their families. TCW and other trucking companies serving the Port of Savannah are transporting much-needed essentials such as medical supplies, food, and agricultural products day and night.

“At the Georgia Ports Authority, we can’t say enough to thank our trucking community for their effort and dedication to serving the needs of our state and the nation,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “Especially now, motor carriers are a vital link in the supply chain for frontline healthcare workers, and for the farmers who need to get their goods to market.”

In addition to adhering to social distancing guidelines and frequent hand washing, McCray said some of the most effective strategies to minimize possible exposure include wiping down trucks before and after each shift and providing mailboxes through which drivers electronically receive dispatches on provided tablets.

Having a safe working environment is also at the top of Crystal Foster’s list. Foster, a driver for the Hubach Group, makes frequent pick-ups and deliveries at Garden City Terminal.

Foster said she’s noticed the community is doing as instructed and stepping up to make sure everyone is protected.

Recent protocols included in Georgia Ports’ “Isolate and Operate” plan such as frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas and temporary suspension of biometric scanners have helped address drivers’ concerns.

“It just makes drivers feel more comfortable,” Foster said. “We are doing what we have to do in order to get our job done.”

McCray added it’s important to let drivers working around the clock to ensure cargo fluidity know they’re appreciated. He also said his friends in the trucking community take great pride in what they do.

“We consider ourselves fortunate to have the opportunity to help and get through this thing,” McCray said.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.