Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!

ATA report shows increased truck driver turnover for large fleets

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 24, 2011

A new report from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) found that longhaul truck driver turnover was up during the first quarter.

The ATA’s Trucking Activity Report said that there was an annualized rate of 75 percent for large truckload fleet driver turnover, representing a 69 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010 and a 39 percent annual increase compared to the first quarter of 2010. The first quarter turnover percentage is at its highest level since the second quarter of 2008.

The report noted that turnover is on the rise, with the driver market tightening in conjunction and drivers moving around from one carrier to another for the best pay and benefits.

“The driver market is tightening,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “We hear nearly every day from fleets who cannot find enough drivers to meet demand. With the economy continuing to recover from the Great Recession, the implementation of new regulations and the number of retirees outpacing the number of drivers entering the industry, I expect to see the turnover rate continue to rise.”

Driver turnover and tight capacity are two things that clearly go hand in hand in the trucking industry, especially during the current tight market conditions, spurred on by a stalled economic recovery and the recent implementation of CSA 2010, as well as possible changes to truck driver hours-of-service regulations.

And unless capacity is added by major trucking players, it is likely that turnover will continue at its current rate, say industry experts.

“Even if carriers were buying trucks, they still cannot find drivers,” said Lana Batts, partner at Transport Capitol Partners. “In order for carriers to attract and retain drivers, rates will need to rise from where they are today. Rate hikes will go to driver pay first even though unemployment is still nearly ten percent. Possible driver candidates are collecting unemployment with a cash job on the side—and are also home every night.”

While the ATA report points to increased turnover, it should not suggest that strong economic activity is what is supporting that effort, according to FTR Associates Senior Consultant Noel Perry.

“The trucking data is not an indication of economic recovery,” Perry told LM in a recent interview. “It is an indication of a trucking recovery.  Turnover goes up early in recoveries as drivers who want to change fleets do so.  Truckers have not hired earlier because productivity allowed them to move more freight without hiring.  Now they have to hire to expand.”

The ATA report also found that driver turnover at small truckload fleets inched up one percentage point to 50 percent in the first quarter for its highest level since the third quarter of 2008, and less-than-truckload (LTL) fleet turnover rose to 8 percent in the first quarter from 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Slowing global trade and a bloated orderbook of large vessel capacity mean that container shipping is set for another three years of overcapacity and financial pain, according to the latest Container Forecaster report published by global shipping consultancy Drewry.

The NRF is calling for 2015 holiday sales to see a 3.7 percent annual gain to $630.5 billion, which comfortably outpaces the ten-year average of 2.5 percent.

On the heels of announcing it plans to acquire freight transportation and logistics services provider Con-way Inc. for $3 billion, XPO Logistics may be considering selling off Con-way Truckload, the company’s truckload arm.

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has called on world leaders meeting at the United Nations this week to work together to find solutions to the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe

More than 20 U.S. port authority officials and their key staff, representing seaports from all four U.S. coasts, will gather on October 8 to meet with Congressional leadership to discuss the upcoming surface transportation bill and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ navigation budget.


Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA