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Charity program makes truck drivers ‘visible’
By:Wu Qiong   |  From:english.eastday.com  |  2020-09-27 14:01

A charity program is calling for society to take more heed of truck drivers in China.

Freight transportation is a “barometer” of China’s economy. Especially in the post-epidemic era, the entire express logistics industry has become the engine of social and economic resumption. There are up to 30 million truck drivers driving 14 million vehicles and carrying 78% of the country’s total volume of freight. However, due to the downturn of the industry, truck drivers are suffering from more pressure both in and out of work.

Together with China Post and Express News and Best Logistics Group, the Shanghai Overseas Chinese Foundation (SOCF) is going to raise funds for China’s truck drivers, the invisible people engulfed in the network of highways. The money will be later used for improving their living conditions and career development.

A tough guy on the road, Zhang Qingqu from Sichuan province has worked as a truck driver for over two decades. He drives in the Qinghai-Tibet region and Southeast Asian countries. For self-defense, he has an axe in his truck as there are robbers on the way. He said, “I feel more comfortable with it around.” Over the recent years, the public security has become better and there are fewer robbers. But due to the changing economic situation, he has to pay higher oil prices for his truck, while the profit he can earn is also declining.

(Zhang Qingqu)

Zhang has driven nearly 3 million kilometers on the road. He has transported small commodities and infrastructure materials such as steel out of China and brought back tropical fruits from Laos, Myanmar, and other Southeast Asian countries. Behind the imported fruits in our supermarkets are the hard work of Zhang and his peers.

In the beginning of 2020 when COVID-19 broke out, logistics driver Zheng Xinhui was on vacation in his hometown in Huai’an, Jiangsu. He was one of the first in his company to volunteer for a delivery task to Wuhan. “As a retired soldier, I felt I had the duty to do so.” After a dozen hours of driving, he arrived in Wuhan and managed to deliver emergency medical supplies to the medical frontline.

(Zheng Xinhui)

Zheng was one of those risking their lives in the logistics industry during the epidemic. When cities were locked down, they were running against time, making indelible contributions to the country’s battle against the horrible novel coronavirus.

Described as “invisible men on highways”, truck drivers face unsatisfying living and working conditions. Many of them even suffer from occupational diseases such as stomach problems and arthritis.

According to the SOCF, 1,000 logistics drivers will be the first beneficiaries of its charity program, and casualty insurance and annual body check services will be offered to them for free.