The COVID-19 outbreak has thrown society and the economy into uncharted territory. Namely, businesses now being classified as “essential” or “non-essential” at a state level. We all know what “essential” means by its literal definition. But, what constitutes whether a business is defined as “essential” or not? During this pandemic, who is forced to close their doors and who trudges forward? In some cases the answers to these questions have caused controversy, but state officials have worked diligently to maintain a level of clarity and transparency.
Still, the term “essential business” can be ambiguous. Ohio was on the forefront of these unprecedented times by thoroughly outlining what the state considers to be ‘essential business’ within the stay at home order. Despite this, many businesses labeled “non-essential” by the state plead their case as to why they should be considered ‘essential,’ and remain in operation. In example, “Just because a bowling alley sells bottled water doesn’t make them an essential enterprise” says Ohio Attorney General, Dave Yost.
Distinct “Essential Business” and Industry
There are, however, several industries in America that take the subjectivity out of the current labeling. Industries that are unequivocally considered “essential business” to America’s economy and well-being. One of which is transportation. Keller Trucking and all who partake in the transport of essential goods are the impetus for other “essential business.” Repetitive we know. But Keller and those alike ceasing operations would result in barren store shelves, idle factories and an overall broken link in the supply chain. In Ohio’s stay at home order, among the primary list of other “essential business” and industry are:
Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations. Read what Ohio deems an “essential business” in its entirety here
Keller’s Essential Efforts
So specifically, where does Keller Trucking fall into this during the pandemic? Primarily the distribution and supply chain of food & beverage. In fact, this accounts for more than half of Keller Trucking’s overall business. Keller has numerous tractors and food-grade trailers dedicated to the transportation of these products for approximately 10 customers across the midwest. This is vital with the altered consumer buying patterns and steep increase in demand for groceries. Being responsive is key in the current societal landscape.
Equally as important as food and beverage product, is the packaging needed for said product. Keller hauls materials like recycled paper for several manufacturers, that then make containers and packaging for food and beverage goods. Additionally, Keller moves materials for American Plastics, who’s currently creating and constructing makeshift hospitals for the medical industry.
“We have been all hands on deck during these trying times. Drivers for non-essential freight quickly shifted to delivering essential goods, and we have not missed a beat,” commented Capacity Manager, Aaron Patterson. “We understand that our customers are doing everything they can to help the public. We take pride in knowing that we play a huge role in that.”
And it doesn’t stop there. Keller has been transporting donation product for area churches and food banks that they then distribute to those in need. Care packages with food, drink, and cleaning supplies have been created for drivers by office employees. With much of the food coming from generous donations from Keller customers. Everyone is working together with one common goal.
“We are always looking for every opportunity to help out and we will continue to do our part to keep America moving,” says Patterson. Keeping America moving one day at time and taking the appropriate safety precautions while doing so.