April 2018

Fleet Management News & Business Info | Commercial Carrier Journal

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Page 73 of 107

68 commercial carrier journal | april 2018 As fleets scramble to find drivers in a hot market, much-needed pay and benefit increases make headlines, while high-tech communications – married with good old-fashioned respect – help workforce stability. BY LINDA LONGTON S trong freight, tight capacity and surging rates mean con- ditions for carriers "are ap- proaching their most favor- able situation in 14 years," according to FTR's Trucking Conditions Index. Except, that is, when it comes to drivers. Long a major headache for carriers, in today's environment, the search for drivers is "getting really, really competitive," says Gordon Klemp, president of the National Transporta- tion Institute, whose company tracks driver pay and benefits. "In the first two months of this year, the numbers of pay changes — we've never had a first quarter that's even close," he says. "And the size of some of the changes is pretty impressive." Desperate to take advantage of the booming freight market, carriers are offering drivers incentives ranging from higher pay and jumbo-sized bonuses to improved creature comforts and generous benefit packages. While experts say such approaches only encourage turnover, other tactics could provide long-term solutions to some of trucking's systemic problems. At the same time, increasingly sophisticated technologies are giving fleets more tools to help recruit and retain this scarce resource. Ask drivers why recruiting and retaining them is so challenging, and three out of four say carriers "don't pay enough," according to a recent survey EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IS THE SECOND ARTICLE IN A THREE-MONTH SERIES EXAMINING THE DRIVER SHORTAGE, MEASURING ITS IMPACT ON TRUCKING OPERATIONS AND EXPLORING METHODS TO MITIGATE THE CRISIS.

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