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  • ITVI.USA
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NewsTrucking

Sysco shifts fleet to grocery supply chain during coronavirus slowdown

Houston-based food distributor Sysco operates one of the largest trucking fleets in the United States.

Houston-based food distribution giant Sysco Corp. (NYSE: SYY) recently announced new grocery sector-focused initiatives in response to reduced customer demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sysco’s president and CEO Kevin Hourican said the company is “pivoting our business to better support the surge in demand that is being experienced in the retail grocery store setting,’’ according to a press release.

“We are establishing new customer relationships with retail grocers to provide them with logistics services and much needed products. We are also advocating for and supporting our customers, who are essential to our future service,” Hourican said. 

Sysco provides products and related services to more than 650,000 customer locations in North America and Europe, according to its website. Its clients include restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other foodservice customers.

Sysco, along with other food service providers such as US Foods and Aramark, have taken a hit as a result of the closure of universities and bans on public gatherings such as sporting events in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Sysco has one of the largest trucking fleets in the United States, with around 14,000 delivery vehicles consisting of tractors, trailers, vans and panel trucks. The company employs 69,000 people.

As part of the new grocery-focused initiatives, Sysco said it has begun providing logistics services and products to retail grocery customers; enabling small restaurants to start up home delivery operations and online order pick-up service; and distributing cleaning supplies to kitchens.

“This net new business will help offset some of the declines in the food-away-from-home segment and also positions the company well to capitalize on growth opportunities after the COVID-19 crisis subsides,” Hourican said in a statement.

Sysco did not return FreightWave’s request for comment on the new grocery sector initiatives.

Rumors that Sysco drivers were being laid off circulated last week. When contacted by FreightWaves, a Sysco spokesperson said, “We are not conducting any interviews or commenting on COVID-19 at this time.”

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is the Cross-Border Freight Market Reporter for FreightWaves.com. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1999. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a reporter and editor. He has worked for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas.

6 Comments

  1. They haven’t done anything to help their employees through these uncertain times. They have choosen to put profits over people , no surprise there. In Chicago alone there will be %45 of the driving force laid off.

  2. 15 outbound order selectors have been laid off at Sysco San Francisco on 5900 Stewart ave. They have been sending people people home 2-4 hours into the shift.

  3. This is false they are only saying this to keep their stock from plummeting. They are closing up resident yards and laying off drivers but not even telling us we’re laid off they’re saying we’re on call day to day so we can’t file for unemployment further damaging their bottom line. Just be honest with your workers we get it but enough of the bs your taking my truck back to the main headquarters and then telling me I’m on call and what the hell am I supposed to drive when you call me just lay me off for Christ sake your getting a damn multi billion dollar bail out and your worried about stock prices

  4. Hourly employees are getting hit hard. But the salaried employees are not loosing a dime. I’ve worked one day this week. I keep getting told that I’ll work tomorrow, but get a text around 8 at night saying that I’m off tomorrow. None of these things the CEO is saying is true. We are not delivering to grocery stores. We are not being lent to retailers. There is no new business. Just chicken feed paychecks.

    1. I cant see how they are hauling to grocery stores with all those single axle trucks. Grocery store trailers are usually to heavy for them.

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