Industry Insiders Say Driver Pay to Keep Climbing

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Posted on February 24th 2015 7:09 PM

The accelerating pace of truckload driver pay increases in 2014 won’t let up this year in the midst of a driver shortage, and probably beyond, several industry executives predicted at the BB&T Capital Markets transportation conference last month.

As reported in the latest issue of Transport Topics, Richard Stocking, president of Swift Transportation, said after the carrier’s highest-ever wage increases last year, he still expects more raises for professional drivers in the future.

Stocking  said the wage increase helped to attract drivers and slow down Swift’s turnover.

According to TT, Knight Transportation rolled out several rounds of pay increases – totaling double digits – to attract enough drivers to boost its fleet size. Even still, CEO David Jackson said the company still has its “work cut out “ to keep growing the fleet.

In most recent business expectations surveys, including those conducted by both the American Trucking Associations and the Ontario Trucking Association, a majority of carriers say they foresee continued increases for both drivers and owner-operators.

“All fleets believe that they’ll need to duplicate the larger driver-pay increases, not only again in 2015 but likely again in 2016 and 2017,” Thom Albrecht, an analyst at BB&T, wrote in a report.

A report from Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., another investment firm, said driver availability should improve slightly this year as pay increases attract drivers while other laid-off workers from the slumping oil-field industry migrate towards for-hire trucking.

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