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Transportation, logistics workers deemed essential during coronavirus crisis

Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency issues guidance on critical industries as millions of Americans ordered to stay home

President Trump said Friday, “Truckers are making the long haul to keep stores stocked.” (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The transportation industry is critical for the movement of goods. But are all employees working for transportation and logistics companies “essential” during these unprecedented times of mandatory quarantines?

New York joined California on Friday morning in ordering all nonessential workers to stay home.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during the coronavirus pandemic. 

CISA Director Christopher Krebs said in a memorandum issued Thursday that the list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers was developed to provide guidance to state and local governments.

“As state and local communities consider COVID-19-related restrictions, CISA is offering this list to assist prioritizing activities related to continuity of operations and incident response, including the appropriate movement of critical infrastructure workers within and between jurisdictions,” Krebs said.

The memorandum said essential industries “represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and health care, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement and public works.”

Krebs said, “As the nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, everyone has a role to play in protecting public health and safety. Many of the men and women who work across our nation’s critical infrastructure are hard at work keeping the lights on, water flowing from the tap, groceries on the shelves, among other countless essential services.”

The CISA guidance, as listed, identifies those essential in transportation and logistics as:

• Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers who maintain and inspect infrastructure, including those that require cross-border travel.

• Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers who maintain and inspect infrastructure, including those that require cross-border travel.

• Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use.

• Mass transit workers.

• Workers responsible for operating or dispatching passenger, commuter and freight trains and maintaining rail infrastructure and equipment.

• Maritime transportation workers — port workers, mariners and equipment operators.

• Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions and services.

• Automotive repair and maintenance facilities.

• Manufacturers and distributors, including service centers and related operations, of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations.

• Postal and shipping workers, including private companies.

• Employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers.

• Air transportation employees, including air traffic controllers, ramp personnel, aviation security and aviation management.

• Workers who support the maintenance and operation of cargo by air transportation, including flight crews, maintenance, airport operations and other on- and off-airport facilities workers.

The Port of Oakland posted a link to the CISA list and reiterated Friday that it was exempt from shelter-in-place orders.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday night ordered all of the state’s 40 million residents to stay home.

“The port, airport and their supply chain partners are considered essential businesses and therefore exempt from shelter mandates,” the Port of Oakland confirmed Friday morning.

Also Friday morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state’s residents, with the exception of those employed in essential jobs, will be required to stay home beginning “Sunday evening.”

“We’re all in quarantine now,” said Cuomo, adding that violators will face civil penalties. “I’m not kidding about that.”

Dredging Contractors of America (DCA) said it helped craft CISA’s guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.

“We commend CISA for utilizing the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council and the Maritime Sector Coordinating Council in developing guidance on essential critical infrastructure workers,” said DCA Chief Executive Officer William Doyle. DCA is a voting member of the Maritime Sector Coordinating Council. 

The food industry association FMI also commended CISA for including food and agriculture and transportation and logistics as part of the essential and critical infrastructure.

“This allows grocery stores and their supply chain partners to maintain their daily operations,” FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said. “The supply chain continues to adapt to meet the new levels of demand and being deemed an essential workforce allows the industry to restock and replenish products across the country without interruption.”

In his task force update Friday, President Donald Trump said, “Truckers are making the long haul to keep stores stocked.”

He also said, “You’re seeing very few empty shelves.”


  1. Hugh G. Pnes

    A boxed mix might seem like the easy way to make pancakes, but this triple-tested recipe by the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen is equally as simple and even more delicious. Perfect for your family’s Sunday breakfast or a 30-minute dinner (breakfast for dinner, anyone?), this best-ever recipe is a classic for a few reasons: It’s quick, versatile, and best of all, a hit with kids and adults alike. Whether you’re short on ingredients or still struggling with your flipping skills, check out these expert tips from Susan Westmoreland, culinary director, before you bust out your griddle.

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    How do you make pancakes fluffy?

    It’s simple: Don’t over mix the dry and wet ingredients. “First, put all your dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to incorporate the leavening(s) with the flour and sugar and get rid of any lumps,” Westmoreland recommends. “In another bowl, whisk your wet ingredients so that the egg, milk, butter, and flavoring are completely blended. Once that’s done, pour the wet ingredients in the bowl of dry ingredients and give it a few whisks, just until all the flour is moistened.” There’s no need to mix the batter until all lumps are gone because they’ll dissolve naturally.

    How do I make flat pancakes?

    For thinner pancakes, add more milk to the batter little by little until you reach the desired consistency.

    Can I make pancakes without eggs?

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    Actually, you can make pancakes with water, coffee, or juice (like OJ!) as the liquid. Use 1/4 cup less liquid to avoid a runny batter.

    What can I add to pancakes?

    For berry pancakes, add a cup of blueberries or strawberries to the batter. For banana pancakes, add a mashed ripe banana. For nutty pancakes, add 1/2 cup toasted, finely chopped pecans or walnuts. For a citrusy zest, add 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest. For cream cheese pancakes, add 3 ounces of finely chopped cream cheese to the batter.

    If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, swap out half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat or buckwheat.

    What kind of pan should I use?

    An electric griddle or stovetop is the best pan for making pancakes, so you’ll have have the best leverage for flipping them. If you don’t have a griddle, use a large skillet with sloping slides.

  2. Stephen Webster

    In Canada any truck drivers going into the U S are doing so with no insurance coverage for C 19. We are getting reports of truck drivers families having to pay a lot of money for medical bills and medical transport back to Ontario Canada. Many trucking companies are saying it is not their responsibility. Insurance companies are saying the companies were told that coverage didn’t include C 19. This needs to fixed now. Under Ontario Canada law there is no cost to the insurance company when claims are delayed for months or years.

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Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.