One of the biggest industries to have seemingly gone unscathed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is road haulage, right?
Well, that's not strictly true.
All industries have taken a hit, just on different scales.
The last 12 months have been extremely difficult for those involved in the road haulage transport industry as demand has been unpredictable.
For such companies, estimating monthly profit loss has proven quite the challenge.
Panic Buying and Rapid Market Changes
Considering the uncertainty of the first national lockdown and what that meant for Brits, the only logical solution people saw was to panic buy essentials before it was too late.
With so much worry surrounding being locked away from the outside world, this would have seemed like a great idea at the time.
Pile as many packets of pasta, toilet rolls and loaves of bread into one basket as you possibly can, right?
But looking back, panic buying only resulted in pressuring markets all across the country. Most of those markets found it far too difficult to keep up with consumer demand.
And let's be honest, demand was exceptional at the very start of the pandemic as people had no idea when certain goods would be stocked up again.
Look at it from a retailer's point of view, though.
Customers rushed into supermarkets, piled a load of the 'essentials' into their trolleys and left the shelves looking bare.
Once products were completely wiped off, a shop worker then had to replenish the shelves with even more of those products. But that was difficult as stock was consistently low.
This was seemingly an endless cycle as people just kept on panicking, and the more they panicked, the more they bought.
But supermarkets were not the only sector stuck in the limbo of the COVID-19 restrictions, as non-essential retailers were tirelessly taking one step forward and two steps back!
With the uncertainty of when and if high street shops would stay open, people were rushing out at every opportunity they had to maintain some sort of normality and a heavily desired social life.
As a result, non-essential retailers were forced to cope with even bigger demand every time their doors opened to the public.
Of course, they looked to find the cheapest pallet delivery options to help maintain healthy stock levels in-store and online.
And who did we rely on? Pallet couriers, of course.
The higher product demand grew in-store, the more businesses became reliant on pallet courier services to keep stock looking healthy and customers coming back!
But then each time non-essential retail was forced to close, pallet delivery companies were experiencing a gradual drop in numbers as replenishing stock became a once-in-a-blue-moon thing for many high street shops.
Recent Road Haulage Market Predictions
From clothes retail to huge supermarket chains, the British economy heavily relies on pallet shipping to distribute products safely.
But with non-essential businesses forced to shut their doors, there was no reason to arrange to send a pallet as they had no way to get rid of existing stock.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions caused a small drop in UK pallet delivery numbers but we certainly weren’t the only country in Europe feeling the effects of these restrictions.
Also amongst those predicted to suffer a loss in their road freight market were Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
Including the UK, the five biggest European markets were expected to suffer a 21.3% market decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Huge 44% Fewer Trucks On UK Roads
With demand for pallet delivery services and haulage companies dropping, 2020 saw a huge 44% decrease in trucks on the roads across the country.
Just to put that into a slightly wider perspective, that’s almost half the normal number of haulage trucks on the roads in previous years.
Naturally, this only caused profit margins to fall and put many businesses under an immense amount of worry and pressure.
At the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses were forced to set up shop online so that people could still buy what they needed from the comfort of their own home.
This way, such businesses at least had some online sales profits to fall back on if they had to keep their doors closed for the time being.
Again, there was no need to schedule deliveries with hauliers as in-store stock levels remained the same for this part of the industry.
With fewer trucks, the roads looked empty!
Delivering Urgent PPE and Supplies
While non-essential deliveries came to a temporary halt, hundreds of pallet couriers decided to use their time and efforts wisely, urgently delivering PPE and supplies to key workers.
For many, this meant prioritising pallets of disposable face masks, hand sanitisers, gloves, and even medical equipment to hospitals, hospices and care homes around the country.
Given the mass shortage of PPE at the time, pallet couriers were under an enormous amount of pressure to deliver supplies as quickly as possible to those in urgent need.
2021 Road Haulage Predictions
Fortunately, as far as logistics are concerned, 2021 is looking much healthier than last year and e-Commerce is now thriving for many industries.
Businesses that initially struggled to take their business online at the very start of the pandemic have changed their course of direction swiftly, wouldn’t you agree?
Even those in the hospitality sector have somehow managed to adapt to the new way of keeping their boat well above water.
Also, those who have previously had no reason to run a website have taken their business online and are now reaping the benefits of doing so.
Finally, as non-essential high street businesses brush off the dust and finally welcome their customers back, pallet couriers are doing everything they possibly can to deal with the surge in demand for their services.
With this in mind, please be patient if you are expecting a pallet collection or delivery.
As a result of the lockdown being lifted, all UK pallet networks are experiencing a large influx of freight volumes and are working tirelessly behind the scenes to help minimise any potential delays.
Your patience and understanding are highly appreciated as always.