John Roberts III, president and chief executive officer of J.B. Hunt, a member company of the Arlington, Virginia-headquartered International Refrigerated Transportation Association (IRTA), has been tapped to serve on an economic revival industry advisory group assembled by the US President Donald J. Trump to work with the White House in charting the path forward during and after the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) scourge.
Refrigerated trucking is an essential component for moving food from producers to consumers, and throughout the pandemic the wheels of IRTA have continued to roll throughout the United States and beyond, delivering temperature controlled food and other perishables including crucially needed pharmaceuticals.
“On average, our members help transport more than 290 billion pounds of perishable foods each year,” said IRTA Board Chairman Todd Lanter, who is also the director of transportation at Henningsen Cold Storage. “They take the responsibility to deliver safe, high-quality food to the consumer seriously. We are pleased that the Trump Administration has selected IRTA member J.B. Hunt to serve on the transportation-focused Great American Economic Revival Industry Group.”
Brian Webb, senior vice president at J.B. Hunt Transport Services, commented: “We are honored to be included in such a prestigious group of companies called on to assist the federal government in planning and executing the country’s economic recovery. It is a testament to the hard work of the people at J.B. Hunt that we were picked in this endeavor.”
Stepping Up to Support Truckers
As much of the America’s workforce has been encouraged to “shelter at home” to prevent the spread of the deadly Covid-19 respiratory disease caused by infection from the highly contagious coronavirus, many others are doing necessary work required to keeping Americans healthy, protected and supplied with necessary goods.
The Lowell, Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt transportation logistics company is showing its appreciation by making sure truck drivers have what they need when on the road. Many items are still in short supply, and donations have helped keep drivers healthy and safe.
Social distancing can be tough when your job requires face-to-face interaction with multiple people. This makes thins like disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer necessary to reduce the risk of exposure. Major retail customers and manufacturers are helping drivers prevent the spread by donating these items. It’s a win-win, as drivers can continue delivering safely, while retailers can restock shelves and replenish supplies.
Perhaps one of the biggest inconveniences for truck drivers during the current health crisis is access to food. Many restaurants are closed for dine-in service at the directive of state and local authorities, leaving only drive-thru or carryout options. For truckers, drive-thru and carryout services may not be possibilities due to truck size limitations or available parking spaces. Several J.B. Hunt customers have stepped up to offer drivers bottled water and convenient snacks to help supplement the lack of meal choices.
The closure of some truck stops and interstate rest stops has left even fewer options than normal for drivers to safely and legally park their rigs. This is always a challenge for drivers, but these new restrictions on parking have made rest periods and breaks even more of an issue. Some of J.B. Hunt’s customers have recognized this need, allowing drivers to park their trucks at warehouses and distribution centers to take rest breaks.
Among companies making generous donations to show appreciation to drivers and other front line employees during this difficult time are Berry Plastics, Clorox, Family Dollar, General Mills, Kimberly Clark, L’Oreal, Malnove Packaging Solutions, Ocean Spray, Target, The Home Depot and Tyson Foods.