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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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It's not always obvious to see just how big of a role the trucking industry and truck drivers play in our everyday lives.
But in recent months, occasional empty store shelves have gone a long way to show how fundamentally important truck drivers are to our day-to-day lives.
From the food you eat and the clothes you wear to the auto parts your mechanic uses to fix your car and the medical equipment your doctor uses to keep you healthy, truck drivers help get things where they need to be when they matter the most.
'I think it's becoming more apparent, especially during the pandemic,' said Tim Jensen, chief operations officer at Jensen Transport, a locally-owned trucking company based in Independence. 'When you go to your favorite store looking for basic items, things that are always readily available, they may not be there. The shelves are bare,' Jensen said. 'If manufacturers have trouble producing their product, trucks don't have the items to transport.'
If there is a disruption in a supply chain, like there has been this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is truck drivers who are called on to save the day. It is truck drivers who are tasked
with delivering products and supplies to help get store shelves stocked again.
In addition to delivering an endless number of consumer goods, the trucking industry also plays a key role in getting raw materials from suppliers to manufacturers, to keep production moving in the first place. From agricultural products, like oats and corn syrup to other raw materials for pharmaceuticals and paper products, Jensen Transport works with a variety of local manufacturers, delivering the basic materials they need to produce their end product.
'Here in Iowa, it starts at the farms,' Jensen said, 'and our drivers and our staff at the office build relationships with manufacturers who use those farm products. They have to know they can depend on us to move their materials and get them where they need to be.'
Jensen said their team of drivers build those same relationships all along their route, from farm to manufacturer to distribution center.
'What we're doing, particularly here in Iowa, is bringing an Iowa-based material to the manufacturer. We're working right in the area — and then a lot of those products end up on the shelves right back here in Iowa,' he said.
To learn more about becoming an essential driver to help feed the nation, go online to jensentransport.com or call (800) 772-1734.