By MATT KOESTERS
SELLERSBURG — It’s hard to find good help these days, and no one knows it better than Brandon Briscoe.
Briscoe is vice president of sales and operations at Talon Logistics, a Sellersburg-based trucking company. Talon first hit the road in 2003, and it now has about 120 employees. It could have a lot more, though.
Talon is just one of numerous area trucking companies with open positions it can’t fill because of a lack of willing, qualified candidates.
“We’re always having trouble finding quality drivers,” Briscoe said.
Across the state, 1,200 open trucking positions remain unfilled, while between 20,000 and 25,000 drivers are needed nationally, Barry Miller, director of safety for the Indiana Motor Truck Association, recently told the South Bend Tribune. An American Trucking Association study released this year claims that 90 percent of for-hire truckload carriers cannot find enough drivers who are capable of meeting Department of Transportation requirements.
And for companies like Talon, simply meeting DOT requirements isn’t enough, which further complicates the search.
“We’re pretty strict on our regulations on who we’re going to get — to get a guy who can really give the service you want to portray and represent your company out there,” Briscoe said. “It makes it kind of difficult right now, and it seems to get tougher and tougher each month to get that. I mean, capacity on the whole has really tightened up, especially in the last few weeks.”
Jeffersonville-based Mr. “P” Express is taking a proactive approach to finding drivers. It offers a 160-hour training course that prepares new drivers for entry-level trucking positions, and it’s not shy about trying to get the word out.
“We recruit drivers through television, through newsprint, through word of mouth — various means to get people who are unemployed, who are displaced through attrition or companies downsizing,” said Mr. “P” President Cindy Collier. “You’d be surprised at the people we have who come through the school that simply don’t have work and they decide, ‘You know what? I’m going to drive a truck.’
“We’ve worked with the folks at Fort Knox trying to get veterans in here. We’re interested in getting veterans in here, but we train our own drivers, and that’s our means of combating the shortage.”
WHY THE SHORTAGE?
The fact of the matter is that trucking isn’t a glamorous profession, Collier admits. Add that to the fact that a large number of drivers are approaching retirement age, and you’ve got a recipe for a shortage.
“We’ve got all of these thousands of drivers that are ready to retire, and then the younger generation is just not taking hold and deciding they want to be in the trucking industry. And it is a very hard life. It’s hard physically on drivers — the sleep patterns, the eating on the road.”
Briscoe agreed, adding that time away from friends and family can lead to burnout among younger drivers, which leads his company to lean more and more on partner carriers to pick up the slack. Combating turnover has been the key to minimizing the pain of the shortage, Briscoe said.
“Once a guy gets with us they typically stay because we have more of a family atmosphere and really try to appeal to their needs and the way they want to be treated,” he said. “So when you get a guy, you can’t lose guys. The best way to not [hurt] your business is keep who you hire and then when you add new people, make it an appealing opportunity for them to stay.”
And that means working with the truckers. Mr. “P” Express and Talon offer home time to their drivers, and both give the option of working over-the-road hauls or staying close to home.
A truck driver can make anywhere from $35,000 to $80,000 a year, dependent on the driver’s willingness to take long hauls. But the money alone isn’t attracting drivers, and DOT regulations on operators is making the squeeze even more painful, Collier said.
“I have some of my customers that say to me, ‘You’ve been telling us the driver shortage was critical forever. Don’t you have a new song and dance?’” Collier said. “But the fact of the matter is, it really is critical, and the more and more stipulations that the government puts in place on us with the regulations, the hours and so forth, it just makes it that much harder, because we need more drivers than ever now because of the new regulations that are in place.”
And that hurts everyone in the end, she said.
“The shortage, people do not believe or understand that it is affecting everyone, because when you look around — when you walk into Walmart, everything that you see in there was trucked in there. That’s how it got there,” she said.
By MATT KOESTERS
Neenah, WI – J. J. Keller & Associates Inc.® has launched three new interactive online training courses – Hazmat Endorsement Practice Test, Cargo Securement: Dry Vans and Hours of Service Canada. These self-paced training courses are available anytime and anywhere there is an internet connection, tailoring the training experience to the user’s availability.
The Hazmat Endorsement Practice Test helps drivers prepare for the Hazmat Endorsement CDL test. It includes questions that closely mimic the actual test and explanations for incorrect responses. It features randomized questions that eliminate memorization and enhance learning.
Cargo Securement Dry Van features up-to-date training for dry van cargo securement based on the regulations and industry best practices. The course covers the key concepts and regulations for the loading and securing of all types of cargo in dry vans. This course is also available on CD-ROM.
HOS Canada features up-to-date training that helps drivers operating in Canada comply with Canadian Hours of Service requirements. It covers key concepts and practices including the hows and whys of Canada’s HOS regulations, along with topics including daily maximums, off-duty requirements, and weekly cycles. The course also features practical exercises that outline the rules and procedures and animated logging examples and worksheets that take drivers through the completion process.
To enroll in these courses, visit jjkeller.com/102477.
About J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.®
Since its beginning as a one-man consulting firm in 1953, J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® has grown to become the most respected name in safety and regulatory compliance. Now over 1,200 associates strong, J. J. Keller serves over 350,000 customers — including 90% of the Fortune 1000. The company's subject matter expertise spans nearly 1,500 topics and its diverse solutions include interactive and online training, online management tools, managed services, advisory services, publications, forms and supplies.
J. J. Keller helps transportation professionals build a smarter compliance program through its vast selection of transport-specific products and services, from E-logs and mobile technology to on-demand training and fleet management systems. For more information, visit visit jjkeller.com.
For more information, contact:
Corporate Marketing Communications Specialist
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.®
1-800-843-3174, ext. 7050
Department of Transportation sent this bulletin at 03/27/2013 11:00 AM EDT
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Contact: Dave Smallen
BTS Releases North American Trade Numbers by Mode of Transportation for January
Releases now include air and vessel information in addition to surface transportation; trucks transported 59% of U.S.-NAFTA trade in January 2013
Trucks carried 59.3 percent of the $90.5 billion in trade in January 2013 between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, followed by rail at 14.3 percent, vessels at 9.8 percent, pipelines at 8.1 percent and air at 3.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.7 percent of the total NAFTA trade.
BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that in January 2013, for trade between the United States and Canada, trucks carried 53.1 percent of the $51.0 billion in trade, followed by rail at 16.2 percent, pipelines at 13.9 percent, vessels at 6.1 percent and air at 4.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.1 percent of the total U.S.-Canada trade.
In U.S. trade with Mexico in January 2013, trucks carried 67.4 percent of the $39.5 billion in trade, followed by vessels at 14.5 percent, rail at 11.8 percent, air at 3.1 percent and pipelines at 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 79.9 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico trade.
BTS monthly TransBorder press releases, beginning with January 2013 data, now contain data for air and vessel. Previous press releases defined surface modes as: truck, rail, pipeline, and other and unknown modes. Beginning with this press release, “other and unknown” modes are not being grouped with surface transportation. Data on surface modes can be found in the press release in Figure 3 and in Tables 2, 4 and 7.
The value of U.S. trade with its NAFTA partners by all modes of transportation in January rose 66.6 percent from January 2009, during the last recession. From January 2004, the first month that TransBorder freight data included air and vessel modes, the value of U.S. trade by all modes of transportation with its NAFTA partners increased by 76.5 percent to January 2013. Imports in January 2013 were up 66.5 percent since January 2004, while exports were up 90.3 percent.
The Safety Management Cycle (SMC) is a resource for carriers and drivers as well as enforcement to help identify and address the root cause for safety and compliance issues. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released a series of SMCs tailored to each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC), with the end goal of helping carriers find ways to reduce or eliminate violations by establishing and improving their safety management controls.
The SMC for the Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC provides potential actions carriers can take to improve their HOS compliance. These actions are divided into six key process areas: roles and responsibilities, policies and procedures, qualification and hiring, training and communication, monitoring and tracking, and meaningful action. For example, during the hiring process, a carrier should make sure a driver has the necessary skills for the job, including sufficient planning skills to know when to drive and when to stop, basic mathematical skills to calculate their hours and miles, and good organizational skills to keep each Record of Duty Status up-to-date.
Explore these and other important tips in the SMC for the HOS Compliance BASIC available from the CSA Website’s SMC webpage. Also, make sure you review the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to ensure you operate in full compliance of all current safety standards.
The Government Relations Firm, Webster Chamberlain and Bean, representing CVTA, is initiating a grassroots lobbying effort. The goal is to encourage the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") in the Department of Transportation to modify the proposed rule for Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators.
CVTA must now demonstrate to regulators that individuals knowledgeable of commercial motor vehicle training are genuinely concerned about this issue. Our ultimate success depends on members who are educated on the issue and will contact the FMCSA.
Here is how you can help:
Start by composing a letter to Anne Ferro. Webster Chamberlain and Bean has developed a template for these communications. Please personalize this correspondence, and ask your colleagues to do the same. If you choose to compose your own correspondence, please remember that CVTA's position focuses on: (1) Performance testing in lieu of proposed minimum hours; (2) the pitfalls of minimum hours including elimination of major access to federal and state funds for students, the minimum hours base will become the maximum amount of training hours, and the fact that training hours have not been proven to produce better drivers; and (3) the accreditation process is flawed and will prohibit many schools from providing students training.
Send Your Correspondence
Comments are to be submitted electronically through www.regulations.gov. The docket number is FMCSA-2007-27748.
By Jonathan S. Reiskin, Associate News Editor
This story appears in the March. 18 print edition of Transport Topics.
Trucking and transportation stock indexes have increased more rapidly over the past six months than those for the broad market, with most of the growth coming since the start of 2013.
While the Dow Jones industrial average has gained 9% in value to reach a record high in the six months ended March 11 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 has grown 8.9%, the transportation average has rallied 20.6% and the S&P trucking roster surged 24.3%.
Within the transportation average, UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. contributed to the increase, as did four freight railroads and four trucking companies.
C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. and Expeditors International of Washington Inc. — the two non-asset-based logistics companies on the transportation average — posted some recent declines, however, after earlier gains.
Company executives and analysts offered no consensus on the meaning behind the gains. Optimists said the increases demonstrate a judgment by investors that trucking earnings will improve this year. Skeptics said trucking stocks are rising off a very low base period, and that well-run companies are benefiting from tight freight-hauling supply rather than a boom in demand for services.
“2013 is poised to be the ‘Year of Transports,’ ” analyst Peter Nesvold wrote to clients of Jefferies & Co. His confidence in the industry’s outlook has firmed as the year has progressed.
Three recent data points suggesting improvement, Nesvold said, are the jump up in January truck tonnage to a record high, the year-over-year gain in diesel consumption and the increase in airfreight for FedEx and UPS.
Nesvold told investors that rallies in freight-transportation stocks usually start in trucking.
“As go trucks, so go transports,” he said.
Tom Kretsinger Jr., president of American Central Transport, said he is optimistic based on the results of his privately held business based in Liberty, Mo., and conversations at the recent Truckload Carriers Association meeting where he was elected chairman... Continue reading (Transport Topics Account Required)
Unsafe driving includes risky behavior such as speeding, improper lane change, aggressive driving, and other types of dangerous activity. Safe driving starts with a safe driver. The Safety Management Cycle (SMC) for the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) helps carriers and drivers evaluate existing processes—including policies and procedures, training and communication, and meaningful action, among others—to determine where gaps may exist that either encourage unsafe driving behavior or leave this behavior unaddressed.
For example, does the company have a policy that prohibits dispatchers from assigning drivers a load that cannot be completed without speeding? Take a look at the SMC for the Unsafe Driving BASIC today and make sure all necessary processes, management, and controls are in place to prevent and address unsafe driving practices. Also, make sure you review the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to ensure you operate in full compliance of all current safety standards.
Over the past 90 days, more than 230,000 jobs were advertised online for truck drivers in the United States, according to Wanted Analytics, a source of real-time business intelligence for the talent marketplace. As demand for goods increases, more truck drivers will be needed to keep freight and the supply chain moving. Hiring for this occupation has increased more than 20% compared to the same 90-day period in 2012.
The metropolitan areas with the most demand for Truck Drivers during the past 90 days were New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Houston.
Employers in the New York metro area not only placed the most job ads of any U.S. area, but also saw one of the highest year-over-year increases in demand. More than 6,600 ads were available online in the past 90 days, representing a 41% growth compared to the same time period last year. Of these five metro areas, Dallas had the second highest growth, up 34% from 2012.
As hiring demand for truck drivers continues, it is likely to become increasingly difficult to source enough potential candidates. However, conditions will depend on each position and the specific skills required in the job.
According to the Hiring Scale, Drivers are likely to be the most difficult-to-recruit in Bismarck, N.D., Hinesville, Ga., and Bowling Green, Ky.
The Hiring Scale scores truck drivers as a 93 (out of a possible 99, where 99 would represent the most difficult situation). With increased competition from employers to attract candidates, recruiters and hiring managers are likely to also experience a longer time-to-fill. For example, the average posting period for a truck driver ad in Bowling Green, Ky., is more than 8 weeks. The national average is about 6.5 weeks.
On the other hand, the Hiring Scale also shows that truck drivers are likely to be the least difficult to recruit in Salisbury, Md., Morristown, Tenn. , and Sebastian-Vero Beach, Fla. These three cities score a 5 on the Hiring Scale and average a 4.5 week posting period, meaning that employers are likely to fill jobs faster and with less difficulty.
The Hiring Scale measures conditions in local job markets by comparing hiring demand and labor supply. The Hiring Scale is part of the Wanted Analytics platform that offers business intelligence for the talent marketplace.
March 11, 2013
By Evan Lockridge
The nation’s unemployment rate fell slightly in February according to the U.S. Labor Department.
It decreased from a 7.9% rate in January to 7.7% in February, as the nation’s non-farm payroll added 236,000 thousand jobs, pushing the rate to a four-year low. The increase was led by a pickup of jobs in the construction sector, which showed its strongest increase in hiring in six years.
The better overall rate was due to a combination of the unemployed finding work with the other half no longer looking for employment.
Trucking added the most jobs of any transportation sector in February, increasing by 5,600 jobs in February brining the new hiring level the past 12 months to 42,500 jobs.
The number may have been higher for last month, but some fleets executives at the recent meeting of the Truckload Carriers Association said they are seeing fewer driver applicants. The number of trucking jobs added reflects those only in the for-hire sector and not those with private fleets or trucking jobs in other fields such as construction.
Despite the pickup for trucking, total transportation jobs added fell for the third month in a row.
Despite the uptick in overall employment the number of jobs added is still below a monthly level of 250,000 that many economists say is needed to significantly cut the number of unemployed people.
President Obama warned Saturday that automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, could reduce the overall job gains seen in February.
The driver shortage is already intensifying, with the number of both new and experienced driver applicants down over the last couple of months, as economic signs lead to improved optimism about increases in freight and rates this year, according to a panel discussion of three major truckload executives Tuesday at the Truckload Carriers Conference annual convention in Las Vegas.
The session, titled "Repaving Truckload's Road to Success," was hosted by Lana Batts, co-president of Driver iQ and a former head of TCA, featured:
- Dan England, chairman of C.R. England Inc.
- Max Fuller, chairman and CEO of U.S. Xpress Enterprises Inc.
- Derek Leathers, president and chief operating officer, Werner Enterprises.
Driver Applications Dropping
The driver shortage situation "is going to be probably the worst situation we've seen," Fuller said. "If you look at the last year it's continued to tighten. In the last four weeks, we've seen number of applicants drop by 20% to 25%." Calls to other carriers confirmed similar trends, he said. "We think with housing improving, a number of drivers have left the industry to go into construction."
Leathers said while Werner hasn't seen that much of a drop, its applicant count has been down on both new and experienced drivers, at double digit levels, and it started at the end of last year.
As always when discussing the issue of the driver shortage, the issue of pay came up.
"We've been a TCA member 35 years," England pointed out, "And the first convention I went to we had a panel discussion on driver turnover. It has worsened, no question about it, but we have talked for so many years about trying to get more money for our drivers and I think we've largely failed."
Leathers said in conversations with shippers about the need to get rates up to pay drivers more, "I'd like to say we see a sense of urgency in their eyes," but that's not often the case. "You often hear that other carrier aren't telling them about need to raise driver wages. But when you ask them what they pay drivers in their own private fleets, it's almost universally 20% to 30% higher. We have those very uncomfortable dialogues and we push them on that perspective."
England says compared to what we were paying drivers in 1980, if you adjust for inflation, drivers aren't even making as much money as they were then, yet drivers today are faced with far more regulations and responsibilities.
"We've failed on that front and haven't succeeded in pushing through enough increases to pass on increased compensation to drivers, so we're trying to find ways to make the jobs we have better, more compatible with home life, get them home more often," he said.
Leathers, similarly, said Werner works to develop better pay packages that are more specific to the type of work drivers are doing, and to get them home more often.
Fuller and Leathers both said they are seeing longtime, experienced drivers throw up their hands and leave the business because they are fed up with the increasing number of regulations.
Hours of Service Uncertainty
One of those regulatory frustrations, of course, is the uncertainty over the new hours of service regulations scheduled to go into effect July 1, if a court challenge being heard between now and then doesn't affect the start date.
"We're planning on the impression that it may very well be implemented July 1," Leathers said. Werner has been running a portion of its fleet under the new rules and trying to determine what the impact will be. He is expecting a productivity hit in the high single digits or worse.
The good news, Leathers said, it that HOS "will be the last nail in the capacity coffin" and will give carriers more leverage to raise rates.
Looking ahead, the three were fairly optimistic.
"I think the next couple of years are going to be pretty exciting," Fuller said. "When you look at the truckload industry, we're really subject to the stocking, restocking, consumption that our country has. We've gone through the destocking cycle, and if you look at inventory to sales ratio, it's pretty low. You look at housing improving, unemployment improving, that's probably going to help the consumption side. I think in 2013 and 2014 we're all going to be a lot more excited about our industry and freight volumes."
England said there are some mixed signals out there. "If you look at year over year new truck sales, we've had 13 consecutive months of sales being down, and that obviously causes some alarm," he said. "However, if you look at new home sales, retail sales, consumer confidence, we're optimistic, and we're seeing some improvement in demand. It hasn't reflected itself in strong rate increase yet, but we're very optimistic."
"I think the market is tightening as we speak," Leathers added. "We're seeing more and more of that in conversations with customers."
Rates need to go up, Leathers said, because costs have gone up. "Even without a tonnage increase, this is a conversation we have to be having with our customers. When you look at new truck prices, we estimate on average you're purchasing those trucks at a 40% higher price. To not be out talking to customers about rates would be a difficult position to put your company in."
Fuller agreed. "I think you have to see rate increases. We've seen costs go up about 6% per year while rates have gone up about 3% per year the last couple of years. With capacity tightening the way we anticipate the rest of the year, we are going to see the ability to increase rates more so than at any point in the last three years."
- CDL Train the Trainer Class Announcement
- FMCSA Announces MCSAC Appointments
- CSA Update: Improve Your Vehicle Maintenance Today with the Safety Management Cycle!
- Help Needed: Art Contest Extended through March 15, 2013
- CVTA Members Participated in a Panel Entitled From Text Book to Log Book
- AAMVA Publishes CDLIS and ACD Manual
- DOT Seeks Stakeholder Input on the Next ITS Strategic Research Plan, 2015-2019
- Lautenberg Won't Seek Re-Election in 2014
- Job Fair to Highlight Need for Transportation Workers
- Webster, Chamberlain and Bean to Assist CVTA with Legislative and Legal Issues