The largest for-hire carriers in North America are having more say about who they work for and the type of the freight they haul as a shortage of drivers continues to strain capacity, according to an article accompanying Transport Topics’ latest Top 100 list.
Customers that take steps to minimize delays and help carriers focus on better utilization of equipment and personnel are seeing preferred treatment, explains Transport Topics.
Operational changes detailed in the 2015 list of the largest for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada include fleets making deliveries at off-peak times, handing off freight to smaller carriers and taking steps to improve driver pay and working conditions.
“All too often, capacity already exists within our current fleet that is not utilized,” said Greg McCoy, CEO of McCoy Group in Dubuque, Iowa. McCoy is working with shippers to allow deliveries of bulk flour and other commodities at night or on different days of the week, which can help drivers avoid lengthy delays and keep trucks on the road longer. Since most companies have more freight than they can handle, finding other carriers to handle the overflow is another option carriers are using to manage their operations.
“We can move freight to our brokerage group, where the needs of other carriers may align with those individual loads better,” said Eric Fuller, chief operating officer of truckload carrier U.S. Xpress Enterprises in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “This allows us to offer more ‘driver-friendly’ freight to our drivers, giving us a more attractive job to recruit for while meeting our brokerage needs.”
At KLLM Transport Services, a refrigerated carrier, officials have begun assessing detention fees when trucks are held up for more than two hours. “Shippers understand that it is in their best interest to be a shipper of choice,” said James Richards Jr., CEO of KLLM in Jackson, Mississippi.
An executive with Melton Truck Lines said he is allocating capacity to shippers based on how difficult the load is to handle and the amount of time it takes for drivers to load and unload. One shipper has purchased land for truck parking, and others have added Wi-Fi capabilities and upgraded facilities for drivers.
At the same time, carriers also are doing things to make themselves more attractive to drivers. Averitt Express, a regional LTL carrier based in Cookeville, Tennessee, set up a driver advisory council to get ideas for improvement. As a result, the company has committed to build driver support centers throughout its service area.
Full article and Top 100 list here: