This is an emergency situation and the Coronavirus is changing our existence radically. There are people who are still working and putting their lives at risk (doctors, nurses, health care staff, ect.), but let us not forget the transport and distribution sector.
FreshPlaza talked about it with Fabio Vignali, CEO of a company providing refrigerated logistic services.
"Despite the Coronavirus, our activities have carried on as normal, though we have to manage new and unusual situations. Every day I worry about the working conditions of our warehouse operators, porters, office workers and so on, as they continue coming in every day to do their work. Unfortunately, smart working solutions are not possible in our line of work, but we have taken action to protect the people who work with us and for us."
Of course a lot of attention is put in the application of safety regulations and employees are provided with all the necessary protective equipment, although it is very difficult to find.
"I remain speechless when I learn that many distribution platforms both in Italy and Europe forbid drivers from using the restrooms and getting out of the trucks or that they do not provide hand sanitizer. I would like to remind everyone that, although these people are not in the front line like doctors and nurses, they are indeed guaranteeing an essential service: they bring food to our tables. I ask for the full cooperation of all interested segments so that drivers can have the respect they deserve."
"We are all scared of the virus but, at the same time, just think about what would happen if we were to interrupt our services. President Conte stressed that people should not raid supermarkets as the State itself will guarantee sufficient resourced to all citizens provided, however, that we can work in humane conditions."
"I have the feeling the entire system is not grasping the difficulties that affect our service in a moment such as this one: orders are bigger with tighter schedules, shifts are not in line with regulations (drivers) and there is no mediation when it comes to solving delivery problems (delays, human error). Just think for example of other countries (France) which, despite having had to deal with the epidemic later than Italy, have already put measures in place for the road haulage sector. We do not consider ourselves heroes but we ask for respect."
"As an entrepreneur, I fear the economic consequences of when all this will be over. I am referring to the insolvency of our clients hit by the crisis, which for us would mean not being able to honor the financial commitments taken or pay any sanctions. I trust the work sector associations and administrative bodies are doing to prevent this from happening."
"Lastly, I would like to thank all our partners, employees and collaborators both in Italy and from our French associate in Perpignan. Without their work and support we would not be able to guarantee the service we provide despite the difficult situation."