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Driver Shortage Shows Gain in U.S. Truck Cargo: Freight Markets

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By Natalie Doss - Aug 25, 2011 1:26 PM ET
Bloomberg.com
Source: bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-25/driver-shortage-shows-gain-in-u-s-truck-cargo-freight-markets.html

U.S. trucking companies may face a 30 percent surge in wage bills by 2014 as rising demand for freight shipments threatens to push the industry’s driver shortage to the longest on record.

The current shortfall will double in a year to about 300,000 full-time positions, or 10 percent of the workforce, said Noel Perry, managing director at consultant FTR Associates in Nashville, Indiana. A three-year deficiency would top the 300,000 vacancies lasting for about a year in 2004, he said.

A gap between cargo demand and the driver supply adds to evidence that the freight industry is recovering. While the stock-market slump since July weighs on truckers such as J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., 2011’s gains in cargo tonnage fit “with an economy that is growing very slowly,” the American Trucking Associations trade group said this week.

“The truck-driver population is growing at less than 1 percent a year,” said Jeff Kauffman, a Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. analyst in New York who follows truck and railroad stocks. “Freight’s growing at closer to 4 percent.”

Truckers’ shipping volume, a barometer of the broader economy, was up 11 percent in July from a year earlier, according to Cass Information Systems. Echo Global Logistics Inc. (ECHO), a Chicago-based provider of freight services, said last month it’s “very optimistic about continued growth in the second half.”

U.S. Regulations

The shortfalls seen in previous freight rebounds are getting a new twist, according to Perry. U.S. safety regulations curbing drivers’ work hours mean companies must have more employees. Also now in place are rules helping companies assess applicants’ driving histories -- weeding out bad risks while also shrinking the pool of applicants.

Rising wages would add to the cost pressures from a bigger workforce and higher prices for new trucks required by federal emissions rules.

Truckers also are paying more for diesel fuel, which averaged 30 percent more a gallon this year through Aug. 23 than the same period in 2010, putting them at a competitive disadvantage to railroads’ superior efficiency.

“Truck is more expensive than rail already,” Kauffman said in an interview. “If it was purely a decision based on price, I probably already have moved to rail. But the flip side is, there’s a service difference” favoring truckers because of their greater speed.
Index Drops

The Standard & Poor’s Midcap Trucking Index slid 11 percent in 2011 before today, and remains 53 percent below its peak in 2007, before the last U.S. recession. J.B. Hunt, the biggest trucker by market value, has dropped 4.3 percent this year. The S&P 500 Railroads Index (S5RAIL) was down 1.6 percent.

Revenue per mile driven excluding fuel surcharges for dry van shipments has advanced 13 percent to $1.55 since the low reached in 2009 as freight demand plunged in the recession, according to industry researcher Truckloadrate.com. Trucks carry about 29 percent of domestic cargo, as measured by revenue ton- miles, compared with about 39 percent... Continue Reading...

Source: bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-25/driver-shortage-shows-gain-in-u-s-truck-cargo-freight-markets.html

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Scammer Alert - August 26, 2011 Second of the Day

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Amber with USA Truck called Brad Ball to let us know that there is a gentleman that is calling schools around the country and asking for names and phone numbers of students looking for employment.  He is promising them a job, all they have to do is wire him money so he can get them into orientation.

So far he goes by either James Hayes or Joe Tucker.

Amber said that USA Truck is calling as many schools as possible, Brad just wanted to make sure that we were informed.

Remember to NEVER give out student information to anyone.  Let’s protect our schools

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Scammer Alert - August 26, 2011

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From: Jamie Sather, National Tractor Trailer:

He just received a call from Tyler at USA Truck stating that there is another scammer out there stating that he is with USA Truck (Which he is not) and is asking for students names and numbers and then asking them to Western Union him money to set up orientation. He goes by the name's of James Hayes or Joe Tucker. He gives out the number 615-975-9326.

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National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

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American Trucking Associations Announces:

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is September 11 - 17. During this week, America takes the time to honor all professional truck drivers for their hard work and commitment in tackling one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs.

Join us in celebrating the men and women across the country who work hard every day to deliver Life's Essentials.

NTDAW MATERIALS:

For updated Industry Fact & Safety Fact Sheets, click here and download from the right hand column.

If you would like to receive the 2011 NTDAW logo or sample press releases and more, please let us know! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 703-838-7935.

NTDAW VIDEO CONTEST:

The American Trucking Associations is holding its Third Annual Video Contest to celebrate. For more information on the contest, click here.

To view the National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2011 Video Contest Flyer with the full list of rules, click here.

DRIVER APPRECIATION GIFTS:

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is the perfect time to show your drivers how much you appreciate their hard work, commitment and safe driving. Driver gifts are affordable, available right now and can be customized with your company logo.

Click here for 2011 NTDAW Merchandise!

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Do Your Drivers Need More CSA Training?

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of August 15, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

ATRI report reveals that many drivers simply don’t understand FMCSA’s CSA safety measurement system. Here are some of the biggest CSA myths out on the road today.

FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety Accountability (CSA) safety measurement system was a source of driver concern and confusion even before it went live last December. Months later a new report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) reveals that many drivers believe and are circulating myths about CSA.

Some Common CSA Myths

ATRI surveyed more than 4,500 truck drivers and uncovered several common CSA myths and misconceptions. Here are a few highlights:

  • 78% of drivers incorrectly believe that a trucking company inherits past violations from new hires. Under CSA, only the violations and accidents that occur while the driver is operating under a carrier’s authority affect the employer’s SMS ratings. Therefore, newly hired drivers do not bring their past violations with them, and carriers can not eliminate inspections and crashes from their record by terminating a driver.
  • 72% falsely believe that FMCSA can revoke a commercial driver’s license (CDL) as a result of CSA. Only state agencies responsible for issuing licenses have the authority to suspend them. The introduction of CSA did not give FMCSA the authority to remove drivers from their jobs or take away their CDLs.
  • 68.6% of drivers falsely believe that CSA takes into account a driver’s personal vehicle driving record. A ticket or warning received while operating a personal vehicle does not count in the SMS.
  • 58.5% of drivers falsely believe that the federal motor carrier safety regulations have changed as a result of CSA. Contrary to what many believe, CSA did not usher in a whole new set of regulations. CSA is simply a new system that prioritizes carriers for enforcement action. Carriers are still subject to all of the same regulatory requirements, including Drug and Alcohol, Hours-of-Service, Driver Qualifications, and more. The FMCSA is currently working on CSA-related changes to the Safety Fitness Determination process, but a final rule is months, if not years, away.

Other Driver Concerns

The ATRI survey also revealed that drivers are surprisingly uninformed about CSA BASICs. According to the report, 99% of drivers could not correctly identify which five carrier BASICs scores are publicly available. Meanwhile, 98% did not know that official driver scores are only available to FMCSA enforcement officials.

Is It Time for CSA Refresher Training?

There may not be a mandatory CSA training requirement, but it is still important for both carriers and drivers to understand the system.
Carriers may want to take a few minutes during their next safety meeting to clarify the CSA myths highlighted in this issue and to answer any driver questions about the CSA system. If your drivers pose questions that you need help answering, please do not hesitate to call a Foley Compliance Specialist at 800-253-5506. Our regulatory experts have been following and reporting on the roll-out of CSA for a few years, and will be happy to help you find answers to drivers’ toughest CSA questions.

CSA Resources

Foley has a number of resources to help motor carriers and drivers operating under the CSA system. Click on the CSA2010 tab in the top menu of our homepage at www.FoleyServices.com. There you will find a variety of CSA-compliant products and services, including the top-selling The Motor Carrier’s Guide to CSA: Understanding Compliance, Safety, Accountability.

Transportation Ticker

Guidance, But No New Rules, for Farmers. Late last week you could practically hear the agricultural community breathing a collective sigh of relief as FMCSA announced that it was not planning to introduce new regulations for agricultural transport. Many farmers and others who earn a living from the agricultural industry were concerned that FMCSA was considering new rules when the agency issued a May 31, 2011 public notice requesting public input on the current safety rules and exemptions for farmers.

The agency did issue new guidance to help ensure that states are applying agricultural exceptions in a fair and consistent manner. For more information, visit www.FoleyServicesBlog.com.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 700 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011
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CVTA Fall Conference 2011 Takes Shape

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Press Release
For Further Information Please Contact:
Cindy Atwood
703-642-9444
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Commercial Vehicle Training Association, Inc. will host its Fall Conference 2011 at the Hyatt Regency, Arlington, VA September  15 – 17, 2011.  The conference will be the largest gathering of commercial driver training organizations in the country. CVTA member operate approximately 200 training locations, and train more than 50,000 entry-level drivers per year.

The Conference will feature an outstanding line up of speakers, including: Bill Bronrott, Deputy Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Robert Dumas, Education Liaison Representative , U. S. Veterans Administration  Education Services;  Bob Costello, Chief Economist and Vice President, American Trucking Associations; Gary Petty, President and CEO, National Private Truck Council and  John Hazard Jr., Partner, Webster Chamberlin and Bean, LLP.

Attendees will also hear a presentation by Kendis Paris, National Director, Truckers Against Trafficking on the important work of that organization.

The Conference is open to all that are interested in quality training for entry-level commercial drivers.
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Scammer Alert -August 19, 2011

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From Chuck Wirth:

A man posing to be with USA Truck using the name James Hayes, phone number - 615-975-9326 is requesting students money-gram $250 to a Don Hopper in Huntsville AL. We verified with Steve Brantley at USA Truck this individual does not work for or with USA Truck.
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FORECAST: DRIVER PAY RISING

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By MAX KVIDERA
Published August 16, 2011
Source:  CCJ Digital

Over the next 12 months, company driver pay will rise 3 to 5 cents a mile and owner-operator pay 4 to 6 cents a mile as carriers compete for a diminished supply of quality candidates, a forecast pay specialist predicted. The lower end of those ranges will occur even if the national economy continues in the doldrums, while the higher numbers will be achieved if manufacturing improves, said Gordon Klemp, president of National Transportation Institute.

Klemp – participating in a Monday, Aug. 15 webinar produced by Overdrive and Truckers News magazines and sponsored by Freightliner Trucks – said sign-on bonuses, which have re-emerged in the past couple years, will continue. He also forecast increased use of productivity pay programs.

Based on a second-quarter survey of 350 carriers, Klemp offered the following observations:
  • Quality of available driver candidates is “marginal at best”;
  • Driver demand and supply is out of balance; and
  • Wages have moved up in the last year and should go higher.

Factors such as the underground economy, part-time jobs and regulatory hurdles such as Compliance Safety Accountability and potential hours-of-service changes are reducing the pool of qualified drivers.

Klemp said he’s seen innovative pay programs emerge in the last six to nine months, and all revolve around five key components: regionalization, equipment utilization, fuel, customer service and safety. “We’ve seen a number of programs that carriers think are working really well,” he said. “All of those put money in the carriers’ pockets, so they’ve got dollars to spend on the driver side.”

In the last 12 months, 48 percent more carriers have begun offering regional pay packages to meet demands for higher pay in some markets, Klemp said; the spread now averages 11 cents a mile. Klemp said one carrier he monitors offered no regional pay differences in 1995; today that carrier offers 17 different regional pay packages for owner-operators based on type of hauling and road time, and seven packages for drivers.

Higher compensation also accrues to drivers willing to forego home time and stay on the road longer in time increments that range from six days up to 45 days and longer. Teams will continue to attract higher bonuses, with several carriers offering $6,000, Klemp said. In the last year, the top bonus hit $10,000. Continue Reading...

Source: CCJ Digital

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A shortage of drivers has trucking companies offering to pay recruits...

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A shortage of drivers has trucking companies offering to pay recruits while they're training

By Mark Puente, Times Staff Writer
In Print Saturday, August 13, 2011
Source: tampabay.com/news/business/workinglife/article1185804.ece

Gary Jones lost his job in December after working in construction for nearly 30 years. At 55 and retirement still years away, he needed a new career and a steady paycheck. He got his wish.

Jones recently juggled six job offers and expects to earn $40,000 over the next year by joining the ranks of the 3.5 million truckers who shuttle freight on American roads. The transportation industry needs a lot more people like Jones to fill a nationwide shortage of truckers that may hit 300,000 next year.

"People can't find jobs in Florida," said Jones of Wesley Chapel. "This is an avenue to pursue."

It sure is, although it seems odd there would be a shortage of truck drivers with a national unemployment rate of 9.1 per cent (10.6 percent in Florida) and the economy just stumbling along.

New standards enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration forced carriers to scrutinize the employment, driving and criminal histories of applicants — weeding out many problem drivers. That, coupled with carriers gutting recruiting departments and downsizing fleets during the Great Recession, triggered the shortage.

The new rules have caused an operational hardship, although safer drivers on the road are better for the public, said Bob Costello, chief economist at the American Trucking Association.

He calls the shortage "a quality issue, not a quantity issue." On the flip side, "drivers who have good records are in high demand," he said. The shortage has prompted the group to launch a nationwide recruiting campaign.

Many jobs have starting wages higher than $35,000. Advertisements litter billboards, the Internet and print publications. Still, to the bafflement of the trucking industry, the calls go unanswered.

"The pool of applicants just isn't there to fill these jobs," said Mary Lou Rajchel, president of the Florida Trucking Association. "The doors are open to hire professional truckers."

The days of people wanting to grab a CB radio while steering 80,000-pound rigs across the freeways are waning as baby boomers approach the twilight of their careers.

"The younger generation is not willing to do this work," said Doc Hyder, president of Rowland Transportation in Dade City.

Hyder is seeing more turnover among his 91 drivers as they test the waters at other firms. Shipping costs will rise as carriers battle for drivers, he said.

"It will lead to higher wages for drivers," he said. "It's what they deserve."

For years, the industry battled negative stereotypes made famous by movies like Smokey and the Bandit and news stories about problem drivers moving between carriers in the same week... Continue Reading...

Source: tampabay.com/news/business/workinglife/article1185804.ece