Gagandeep Baidwan Discusses Its Impacts on the Freight Business

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Freight business during the COVID-19 pandemic

The first wave of COVID-19 immediately disrupted industry across the board, catalyzing cracks that will stay resonant for years to come. Perhaps no industry has felt these changes more than the freight industry, which has seen unprecedented demand due to increased online shopping, disruption in the supply chain and changing purchasing habits of consumers.

In the past few months, the freight industry (and the transportation sector in general) has struggled to meet ever-changing needs and exploding demand. Now that North America is preparing for the second wave of the pandemic, it is evident that more challenges are on the horizon.

The owner of the freight company, Gagandeep Baidwan, has seen firsthand how the current situation has challenged and transformed the industry. To help transportation leaders better understand these rapid changes, Gagandeep Baidwan outlines just some of the key ways the pandemic has changed business operations, and specifically focuses on how the second wave of COVID-19 continues to be on demand and Operation will affect.

The growing impact of COVID-19 on the sector

As in the transportation industry, the current pandemic has forced the freight industry to immediately shift its focus and priorities in order to overcome it. In a recent article, Deloitte highlights that the pandemic has urged the transportation industry to reduce the overall cost of keeping their systems operational while ensuring that their services are far-reaching enough to keep essential traffic going.

In reducing, the sector has sought to balance downsizing with the potential for future reopening. With a vaccine on the horizon, these companies are faced with the challenge of finding functional systems that will allow networks to return to normal operations even after the pandemic has been resolved.

For the freight industry specifically, COVID-19 has caused a huge surge in demand that freight companies like Gagandeep Baidwan have tried to meet without completely reworking the basis of their operating systems. As in many other industries, once lockdown measures wear off and the pandemic subsides, the freight industry must find ways to meet today’s needs without fundamentally changing its models to compromise their effectiveness.

In addition, they must not exceed sustainable operating levels as the long-term effects of the pandemic’s unemployment rates can ultimately lead to a drastic decline in demand. With the second wave of the virus to expand these unprecedented circumstances, this task becomes particularly challenging.

Shipping container in the port

Possible long-term effects of COVID-19

Given that the pandemic has redefined consumer habits, the freight industry needs to expand its current capacity not only quickly, but indefinitely. The increased demand is likely to continue well beyond the traditional peak period and require modified operating models to be more than just a sufficient temporary solution. They also have to offer promising long-haul solutions.

With increased demand, freight companies must work strategically to keep their key personnel available as problems arise during the pandemic. At this point, people with essential skills and high level training will prove especially necessary.

Freight carriers need to understand that many of the changes brought about by the current pandemic (particularly in consumer habits, demand and shipping volume) will not go back to “normal” after the pandemic ends. The current situation will have permanent and ongoing effects across the industry – nothing should be considered temporary.

While the immediate effects of the second wave of the pandemic have further increased demand, the long-term effects of record high unemployment rates may ultimately lead to a sharp decline in business. With this in mind, Gagandeep Baidwan recommends that freight companies scale their business activities in such a way that they meet current requirements in an extremely flexible and elastic manner. Should there be a downturn, those with dynamic plans will find it much easier to adjust.

Key question

Regarding the impact of the second wave of COVID on the freight industry, Gagandeep Baidwan strongly encourages executives and other freight company owners to ask themselves the following questions:

  • How will we continue to scale our services to meet this unprecedented demand?
  • How do we keep our operational changes flexible to anticipate a possible downturn?
  • Are the previous options for adapting to the increasing demand for long-term use sustainable, should long-term use be necessary?
  • How do we protect key workers (both mentally and physically) in the face of the challenges of the second wave of the pandemic?
  • How is our current model exposed to COVID-19 risk and what impact could these risks have on future operations?
  • Have we successfully identified cost-effective maintenance opportunities that will help us thrive through the second wave of COVID-19?

Freight in a port

Practical next steps

To weather the second wave of the pandemic, Gagandeep Baidwan recommends that freight company owners like him consider the following steps to keep their business operations safe and meet requirements.

  • Find ways to protect core resources even in the event of significant cuts
  • Invest in employees through training programs to increase the company’s available resources in the second wave
  • Create multiple contingency plans that are dynamic, flexible, and easily customizable
  • Expect deadlocks and delays by creating adequate redundancy in the network
  • Strategy for adapting traffic flows on a daily basis and maximizing operational flexibility
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