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COVID-19 will not stop the trucking conversation

March 25, 2020
While uncertainty continues to grow, the trucking industry stays strong.

These are difficult and trying times for everyone, with concerns about public health at the forefront of everyone’s mind. For the sake of public safety, events are being cancelled across all industries and trucking is no different.

While we were putting together our monthly newsletter, which usually contains a list of events that NACFE staff members will be attending, the reality of what the spring show season would look like became apparent. Over the course of the few days it took us to gather information for the newsletter, write it, edit it and send it out, nearly every event we were scheduled to attend during the remainder of March and all of April has been canceled.  To be clear, I am not whining or complaining; each of those organizations absolutely did the right thing putting public health above their own organization’s needs.

But these cancellations present an interesting challenge to NACFE and the portion of our mission that talks about convenings that allows to share and learn. We can continue with a great deal of our work — updating existing Confidence Reports, analyzing the data from Run on Less Regional, continuing our work on electric trucks and their viability in regional haul. In some ways we are really lucky because the entire NACFE staff already works remotely. We don't have a brick and mortar location per se. Those of you who have known me for some time know that the NACFE “office” is a mobile one and moves around depending on where we need (and in some cases want) to be.

However, we learn a great deal from our face-to-face interactions with folks in all phases of the trucking — and related — industries. Our team was on a call early last week trying to figure out how we could continue to work with all our stakeholders without being able to use these meetings as gathering spaces.

We kicked around a few ideas including developing more videos (we can thank cellphone technology for being able to produce decent video from the safety of our homes), hosting webinars, and working with event sponsors to develop some virtual events to take the place of the live events that were canceled.

We did not come up with one good answer or a plan. However, we are committed to our mission and will be figuring out both how to share what we know with you and how to learn all the things you can share with us.

We are very open to hearing how during this time without public gatherings you think we should make sure to keep the dialogue going.

One thing is certain, I am always available to talk with you as are members of the NACFE team. If you want to talk further about the project we are working on or if you want to share something you discovered about improving freight efficiency or if you have questions surrounding the whole electric truck dynamic, contact me. If you can’t reach me, get in touch with our communications director Denise Rondini, and she will see that someone from the NACFE team gets back to you quickly.

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy. We look forward to seeing all of you later this year after the dangers of COVID-19 have passed.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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