Pivot and Go: How United Road Sped the Delivery of Medicine, Food, and Vehicles

When COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders slowed and, in some cases, shuttered U.S. businesses, United Road in Plymouth Township, one of North America’s largest logistics firms, shifted its operations in multiple ways to meet business and consumer demand for essential goods.
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United Road truck
United Road shifted its operations to keep up with demand for essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. // Photo courtesy of United Road

When COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders slowed and, in some cases, shuttered U.S. businesses, United Road in Plymouth Township, one of North America’s largest logistics firms, shifted its operations in multiple ways to meet business and consumer demand for essential goods.

The company, which has 2,500 company-owned and independent vehicle carriers, along with 4,500 third-party carrier partners, transported and stored vehicles from railheads and ports to allow for delivery of essential goods. It also moved critically needed heavy-duty trucks to service providers in vital industries such as grocery and medical suppliers.

Now, as businesses re-open, United Road is using rapid-response technology solutions and touch-free delivery among other strategies to help customers get on the road to economic recovery.

“United Road is doing what it takes to support our customers, being agile to help replenish inventories, buy and sell vehicles, reposition fleets, and haul-away oversized trucks,” says Mark Anderson, president and CEO of United Road.

“We’ve expanded capacity and are being innovative and solution-driven to help our customers. We have increased our digital tools, expanded our carrier partner network, and increased capacity by 25 percent over 2019. Our goal is to make it fast and simple for customers to move vehicles when and where they need them. Whether one unit or multi-unit, from standard sized vehicles to oversized trucks.”

Anderson points to several ways United Road is getting customer vehicles moving. These include:

  • Financial incentive: Special 10 percent discount in July for booking the next three moves is helping dealers move vehicles to their customers and cut expenses.
  • Technology-enabled solutions that put information, pricing, and vehicle tracking in customer hands, on their iPhones, in real time.
  • Touch-free delivery.
  • Expanded customer service hours and resource support.
  • A more comprehensive United Road website.

The company’s customer base includes OEMs, dealerships, rental firms, auctions including virtual, financial institutions, industry and construction, fleet operators, individual and specialty vehicle owners, and more.

“Each customer and each vehicle move is unique,” says Anderson. “United Road’s portfolio of companies, including Team Drive-Away and Pilot Transport, enable us to deliver on a diverse range of customer needs – from single and multi-vehicle and heavy-haul interstate transport to storage and specialty vehicle enclosed moves.”

Ongoing safety precautions include digital communication and transactions that enable customers and car haulers to avoid signatures and sharing devices at time of delivery.

Drivers and terminal professionals also use masks and sanitation kits, and follow appropriate distancing and cleaning procedures. In addition, all employees and driving professionals perform a daily health check and log in the results to ensure the safety of their team members and our customers.

In one instance, when Subaru of North America needed to move and store new vehicles from railheads and ports, United Road got the call. Mike Lupacchino, Subaru’s director of national traffic, said United Road offered new and reliable solutions for storage opportunities, “but especially the help at our Lafayette, Ind., manufacturing plant and Elwood, Ill., railroad ramp, as well as the ports and railheads that United Road continued to ship from during these challenging months.”

United Road transports more than 4.5 million vehicles annually and has more than 1,700 employees. For more information, visit https://www.unitedroad.com/.

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