The Mobility Impacts of COVID-19

To say that COVID-19 has had a big effect on travel is an understatement. From countries going into complete lockdown to worldwide business closing and sending workers home, the economic, travel and societal impacts of coronavirus pandemic are hard to qualify and quantify. So, to make at least some aspects of it clearer, we are going to take a look at the mobility impacts of COVID-19.

International mobility impacts of COVID-19

The largest mobility impacts of COVID-19 happened on an international scale. Once you consider the travel bans and the slowing down of the economy, you will soon realize how much the coronavirus pandemic has changed international travel. And, if we take into consideration how the pandemic is progressing, we shouldn’t expect things to go back to normal anytime soon. So, if you are experiencing some logistics issues, you are not alone.

a sparsely booked flight

Dealing with logistics during the COVID-19 pandemic can be quite complicated.
A map with a mask and medicine spread across it.
International travel grinds to a halt

To describe this change, in a nutshell, we can simply say that international travel has all but stopped. Countries have closed down airports, except to help people travel back home from foreign countries. Boat travel is practically non-existent, as doctors noticed that cruisers are hotbeds for coronavirus. Some governments have also banned international land travel, even in private vehicles. This, as you might have guessed, has had the biggest impact on the tourist industry, as it is most reliant on international travel. Luckily, certain EU and Asian countries are experiencing a slowing down of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of newly infected cases is lowering, which has led the governments in these countries to lower certain travel restrictions. As of writing this article, international travel is still terribly limited.

Transport of commercial goods

The transport of commercial goods by professional commercial drivers has remained relatively steadfast during the coronavirus pandemic. The biggest mobility impacts of COVID-19 on the transport of commercial goods came through the closing of various businesses. Since business had to close, there was no need for international shipping. Therefore, while the means of transport were there, there were simply no goods to transport. The goods that were available had to go through extra safety measures in order to prevent spreading the virus. However, these measures didn’t go much further from an extra bit of disinfection.

reduced traffic on interstate
The biggest increase in international transport came through medical relief, as almost all countries were completely unprepared to tackle COVID-19. Therefore, they had to look outside for medical supplies. Protective face masks, disinfectant gels, respirators… Such tools were in high demand and, for a while, there wasn’t a country that was not looking for them. And, as a result, there was a significant increase in international shipping of medical supplies.

No one expected that we would need so many face masks and hand sanitizers in such a short time.

A facemask, hand sanitizer, rubber gloves.
Local travel

When looking at the mobility impacts of COVID-19 on local travel regional loads, we get a picture that is a bit better. While countries were in lockdown, there was still a notable amount of transport on an intrastate level, both private and commercial, and in the U.S., relocation companies like are still able to help people move their households. Is it the same as it was without COVID-19? Of course not. But, when you compare it to international travel, the differences are staggering.

The effect of the quarantine

The largest effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on local travel is, again, through the closing down of various businesses. A large number of countries also instated a ban on public transport during the coronavirus crisis, both city and intercity. However, they did allow private transport, at least outside curfew hours, as well as Highway Transport with company drivers in their trucks.

The mobility impacts of COVID-19 on Highway Transport were minimal.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the need for tanker truck loads of specialty chemicals, Highway Transport tanker trucking locations remained 100% operational. The company continuously monitored the impact of COVID-19 on our network and implemented many driver precautions. The result of businesses closing down was that shipping was notably reduced. The non-essential businesses that did stay open didn’t see much business due to the reduced spending. So, the only businesses that did see a constant stream of income during coronavirus are the local food and medical industries.

open road on a Highway Transport tanker truck load
Here is a picture from a load Highway Transport brokered to Fort Transfer delivering to Fairbanks, AK. It is for our customer, Chemtreat, load comes out of Nampa, ID and delivers to a gold mining site.‬

Final things to note about COVID-19

As we mentioned before, certain countries are opening up. Both in regard to international and local travel, they are lifting restrictions and bans and slowly guiding society to full freedom of movement. This will practically negate the local mobility impacts of COVID-19. On the other hand, we are going to experience the impact of international travel bans at least until the end of 2020, as they are slower to lift. Highway Transport drivers are professional CDL drivers who are great about sharing face covering tips.

Multiple waves of coronavirus

If the past is any indicator of how things will turn out, we can expect that the COVID-19 pandemic will have multiple waves. Both the Spanish flu and the Asian flu had multiple waves. So, it is quite probable that we’ll see another wave of COVID-19 in about 6 months. How big this wave will be is hard to tell. In most cases, people become too relaxed thinking that the crisis is over. This is why the second wave is usually the deadliest. But, for now, we should mainly focus on keeping the current wave in check.

Lighter travel restrictions with increased public awareness

Sweden stands as a good example of how to properly fight coronavirus. If we manage to adhere to the recommended safety measures, our economy and therefore mobility will recover quite quickly. We don’t have to react to the second wave of COVID-19 with lockdown and travel bans like we did for the first wave. Instead, if we manage to have the same public awareness that the Swedes have, we can have quite normal lifestyles and see the end of COVID-19 for good.


Are you fascinated about tanker trucking?

Discover more details in the helpful article, The Benefits of Tanker Trucking Jobs. Highway Transport is a Knoxville, Tennessee-based company in business Since 1948 providing information about the transportation of specialty chemicals. The tanker truck fleet operates from 14 service centers in major chemical manufacturing areas across the U.S. and recently opened a new southeastern US location in Geismar, Louisiana. Check out this video of one of our tanker units on the trucking yard…

See you on the road! Fans of Highway Transport send us pictures all the time. Here’s a scene I-95 southbound in Pennsylvania. Photo captured by Mike D. Looking Good!

I-95 SB at the Mason Dixon line. Looking Good! Photo captured by Mike D.


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