As the coronavirus spreads, shippers are implementing new procedures for truck drivers making deliveries and arriving for pickups.
Numerous shippers contacted for this story either declined to comment on their current practices or did not respond, but social media has been abuzz in recent days with stories from drivers detailing their experiences.
Some drivers have stated that shippers are asking them to sign documents declaring their past international travel.
“I picked up a preloaded trailer yesterday. Had to sign a sheet that said I haven’t been to China and some other countries or haven’t knowingly been in contact with anyone who had been,” wrote one user.
Nestle has reportedly provided a document for drivers to sign. It states, “if you, or anyone with whom you’ve had direct contact or someone in your household, have travelled to any of the regions below in the past 14 days, please inform our security team.” It then lists the Greater China region, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Italy and Iran.
Social media users noted General Motors and Americold as other shippers asking basic health questions or asking drivers to sign documents related to recent travel and health.
Nestle, General Motors, and Americold have not responded to requests from FreightWaves on their current policies.
“We received quite a few messages today from shippers that they will be checking with drivers on their recent travel and health. I am guessing this will be the new norm for a while,” wrote one user.
Over the weekend, one carrier owner said one of his drivers was told paperwork would be placed at a table outside the facility and he could sign it there and return to his truck. He was not allowed inside the building.
Carriers are also responding to the conditions. UPS (NYSE: UPS) Senior Manager of Public Relations Matthew O’Connor said he could not disclose conversations the company has had with customers, but UPS is reminding employees about proper hygiene and what they should do if they exhibit any symptoms.
“This includes instituting hygiene protocols that are in line with suggested U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measures. If any employee experiences symptoms such as fever or respiratory infection, they are required to seek medical treatment immediately,” O’Connor told FreightWaves. “This is a fluid situation, and our primary concern is for the safety of our employees and the people in the affected areas.”
Like UPS, FedEx (NYSE: FDX) declined to speak for shipper practices, and it too is advising and educating employees on best practices to minimize risk.
“The safety and well-being of our team members and customers is our top priority,” Bonny Harrison, spokesperson for FedEx, said in an emailed statement. “We are closely monitoring guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and other public health organizations, and taking recommended precautions in terms of pilot, team member and customer health and safety.”
Harrison said FedEx team members are being advised to take any signs of illness seriously and seek medical attention as needed. It is also working to ensure the workplace remains clean, she said.
A statement from an Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) spokesperson said the company is concerned about the health of its employees and contractors.
“Our top priority is protecting people’s health and we are actively supporting employees and contractors on an individual, case-by-case basis. We will continue evaluating next steps should we see a much broader impact,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to FreightWaves.
Amazon went on to say it continues to work with both public and private medical experts to ensure proper precautions are taken. It has also instituted a series of preventive health measures for employees, delivery and transportation partners that include frequent and intense cleaning at all sites, requiring employees to sanitize and clean work stations and vehicles with disinfectant/cleaning wipes at both the start and end of every shift, and staying home and seeking medical attention if they feel sick.