Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


ATA reports driver turnover for large fleets heads up in the second quarter

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
October 07, 2013

Being able to finding and retaining qualified truck drivers remains challenging, based on data released by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) today.

In the second quarter edition of its Trucking Activity Report, the ATA said that the annualized turnover rate at large truckload fleets is now at 99 percent, up two percent from the first quarter. This marks the highest point for driver turnover at large truckload fleets since the third quarter of 2012 and is slightly ahead of 2012’s annual rate of 98 percent.

“Continued high turnover shows that the market for qualified, experienced drivers remains extremely tight,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “The continued improvement in the freight economy, coupled with regulatory challenges from the changing hours-of-service rule and CSA will only serve to put a further squeeze on the market for drivers. A tight market for drivers will push costs higher for fleets as they work to recruit or retain quality driver.” 

The ATA said that turnover at truckload fleets with less than $30 million in annual revenue at 82 percent was flat compared to the first quarter, turnover for less-than-truckload fleets decreased by 9 percent to 6 percent, which the ATA is its lowest level in two years.

As LM has reported, 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 relatively slow economic recovery and the December 2010 implementation of CSA, as well as the July 1 changes to truck driver hours-of-service (HOS).

And regulations like CSA and HOS, as well as Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBR) continue to play a major role in carriers’ being hesitant to increase capacity and subsequently hire drivers, which continues to be challenging, as evidenced by ATA’s data.

Projections from freight transportation forecasting consultancy FTR Associates estimate that this problem is likely to get worse and by 2014 the driver shortage could be in the 250,000 range, which Stifel Nicolaus analyst John Larkin said is going to create a capacity shortage which will translate into “fairly sizable rate increases” that might be steeper than what has occurred during the slow growth period over the last couple of years.

While the driver turnover rate, especially for large carriers, remains high, it could reach even greater heights should the economy see material gains.

At the FTR Transportation Conference in late September, Larkin said that strong recruiting is the best way to keep driver capacity utilization at bay. The sophisticated and largest carriers are doing the best to recruit experienced drivers and many also have training programs,” he said. “They are the ones treating drivers the best and getting them home regularly.”

While turnover figures to remain prevalent in the future as it is now, the onset of additional regulations to HOS and CSA, will lead to increased hiring. FTR Senior Consultant Noel Perry said that by the third quarter of 2016 there could be 1.4 million new drivers in the marketplace. 

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

The PMI, the ISM’s index to measure growth, increased 1.8 percent to 57.1 in July. This is 1.8 percent higher than the 12-month average of 55.3. The PMI has grown in 18 of the last 20 months, with economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanding for the last 14 months as the overall economy was up for the 62nd consecutive month.

YRC Worldwide, whose regional and long-haul units provide the second-largest LTL capacity in the trucking industry, narrowed its second-quarter loss to $4.9 million on $1.32 billion revenue, compared with $15.1 million loss on $1.24 billion revenue in the year-ago quarter.

With NFL training camps in full swing, it stands to reason that Congress must be replete with football fans, given how it basically has elected to punt on federal transportation funding yet again, with the Senate yesterday signing off on a ten-month bill to keep federal surface transportation funding intact through May 2015 through a nearly $11 billion stopgap measure.

Carload volumes were up 4.3 percent at 306,988, and intermodal volume for the week ending July 26 was up 3.3 percent at 264,809

Comments

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


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA