Three top 250 fleets announce pay increase for drivers
Three of the top 250 fleets announce pay increase for their drivers

Three more large fleets in America’ list of top 250 fleets have announced pay increase for drivers. These three fleets now join a number of other trucking businesses that have recently announced pay increases for their drivers.

The improvement in revenue and, therefore, driver salaries is being attributed to better market conditions after the enforcement of the ELD mandate. Moreover, with electronic logging devices, fleet managers are in a better position to efficiently plan and manage their vehicles — which reduces administrative burden as well as operational cost.

Nearly all of the publicly listed carriers said that their income and revenue went up, consequently leading to gains in shareholder earnings.

The 2018 driver pay increase was forecasted by the head of the National Transportation Institute in November last year, citing the rise in freight demand and contract rates as two of the primary reasons for the increase.

During a conference call organized by the investment firm Stifel, NTI President Gordon Klemp, who is also a driver pay analyst, told investors that if fleets could negotiate a contract rate increase with shippers, then they could pass a portion of the gains to their drivers.

Although trucking companies had consistently boosted driver pay in recent years, especially when capacity was tight in 2013 and 2014, Klemp told that driver pay rose by an average of just 6.3% over the past decade when adjusted for inflation.

Wage hike announcements

ACT, the 249th company in the Top 250 fleets, will boost independent contractor and company driver wage. ACT owner-operators will enjoy a pay hike of two cents per mile. Company drivers will get an across-the-board pay increase.

The company will also carry out a monthly bonus program that would allow drivers to earn up to $500 per month.

ACT drivers will receive $150 once they have driven 9,000 miles in a month, with the amount increasing for every additional 1,000 miles up to $500 monthly for driving 12,000 miles.

On the other hand, Nebraska-based K&B Transportation (ranked 124th in the Top 250) will increase the starting pay for company drivers beginning May 7.

K&B will boost the pay for over-the-road drivers in its Midwest and national fleet operations by five cents to 50 cents per mile.

K&B drivers will also get an increase of five cents. Here are the details of K&B’s pay hike for their drivers:

  •   From 46 cents per mile to 51 cents per mile for those who have been with the company for six months to one year.
  •   From 47 cents per mile to 52 cents per mile for those employed between one year and two years.
  •   From 48 cents per mile to 53 cents per mile for those employed between two years to five years.
  •   From 49 or 50 cents per mile to 54 cents per mile for those who have been with the company for five years and more.

As for new hires, K&B guaranteed $1,250 as weekly minimum pay with 2,500 guaranteed miles.

K&B will also implement a bonus package reward program for drivers for clean inspections, referrals, and more.

174th-ranked Cargo Transporters told that company drivers and new driving school graduates would receive a pay increase on April 1.

Drivers with one or more years of over-the-road experience will start at 46 cents per mile while driving school graduates will receive 25 cents per mile during their eight-week training and 44 cents post-training.

Six months from their hiring date, they will receive a one-cent pay hike.

Income and revenue reports

Large truckload carriers, meanwhile, came out with their final earnings reports, and judging by the figures, the fleets finished strongly last year. Freight demand soared, capacity tightened, and rates achieved record highs in 2017, which boosted fleets’ revenue and income.

Figures vary in the earnings report below because some fleets state their operating income while others report net income.

Covenant Transportation

  •   Revenue in 2017 – $705 million
  •   Revenue in 2016 – $670.7 million
  •   Income in 2017 – $55.4 million
  •   Income in 2016 – $16.8 million

Diluted earnings per share:

  •   2017 – $3.02
  •   2016 – 92 cents

Heartland Express

  •   Revenue in 2017 – $607.3 million
  •   Revenue in 2016 – $612.9 million
  •   Income in 2017 – $75.2 million
  •   Income in 2016 – $56.4 million

Diluted earnings per share:

  •   2017 – 90 cents
  •   2016 – 68 cents

J.B. Hunt

  •   Gross revenue in 2017 – $7.2 billion
  •   Gross revenue in 2016 – $6.6 billion
  •   Net income in 2017 – $385.3 million
  •   Net income in 2016 – $112.3 million

Diluted earnings per share:

  •   2017 – $3.48
  •   2016 – $1.05

Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings

  •   Gross revenue in 2017 – $2.43 billion
  •   Gross revenue in 2016 – $1.03 billion
  •   Income in 2017 – $200 million
  •   Income in 2016 – $148.5 million

Diluted earnings per share:

  •   2017 – $4.34
  •   2016 – $1.16

Landstar Systems

  •   Revenue in 2017 – $3.6 billion
  •   Revenue in 2016 – $3.2 billion
  •   Income in 2017 – $177 million
  •   Income in 2016 – $137.4 million

Diluted earnings per share:

  •   2017 – $4.21
  •   2016 – $3.25

Marten Transportation

  •   Revenue in 2017 – $698.1 million
  •   Revenue in 2016 – $671.1 million
  •   Income in 2017 – $90.3 million
  •   Income in 2016 – $33.5 million

Diluted earnings per share:

  •   2017 – $1.65
  •   2016 – 61 cents

USA Truck

  •   Revenue in 2017 – $446 million
  •   Revenue in 2016 – $429 million
  •   Income in 2017 – $2.07 million
  •   Income in 2016 – $7.51 million

Diluted earnings per share:

  •   2017: 93 cents
  •   2016: 90 cents

Werner

  •   Revenue in 2017 – $2.11 billion
  •   Revenue in 2016 – $2 billion
  •   Income in 2017 – $202.9 million
  •   Income in 2016 – $79.1 million

Diluted earnings per share:

  •   2017 – $2.80
  •   2016 – $1.09

P.A.M. Transportation’s 2017 earnings report was unavailable while Celadon, a trucking company under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission because of the value of the used trucks donated to a joint venture company, is not included.

Source: ccjdigital.com.

What’s next?

Three fleets belonging to the top 250 have announced a pay boost for their drivers. This is a direct result of publicly traded truckload companies garnering bigger profits in 2017.

It has been reported and proven that using ELDs can result in higher profits for carriers as well as drivers.

Fleets not yet compliant with the ELD rule that took effect on December 18 last year are missing out on several benefits that come with powerful and feature-rich electronic logging devices.

If you’re in the process of finding the best ELD for your fleet, then check our ELD price comparison and ELD features comparison tool.

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