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Desperate to keep its 18-wheelers on the road, America’s fifth-largest trucking company is promising major cash for truck drivers.
Schneider National said Monday that team truck drivers, the term for those who drive with one other person, received a pay bump of two to four cents per mile last month. It may seem puny, but Schneider says its drivers average 5,000 to 6,000 miles a week — so it works out to a pay increase of up to $12,480 a year.
That has pushed annual pay for many Schneider drivers above $90,000, the company said.
Team truck drivers ensure the truck — and the goods they’re moving across the country — is always moving. When one driver reaches the federal limit on how long they can spend at the wheel, their partner swaps in.
Such service is especially key as trucking companies prepare for an unusual holiday shopping season. Some retailers are planning Black Friday-like sales for as early as October, Reuters reported. Many expect online orders to break records. That means increased pressure on the trucking companies who make sure your local and online retailers are stocked.
Schneider, which is partnered with some of the country’s biggest retailers, including Walmart, is responding to that. Along with the permanent pay increases, it’s offering bonuses around the holiday season for drivers to team up.
Schneider is now offering its solo drivers $5,000 to team up with another driver. Team drivers new to Schneider can snag bonuses of up to $10,000 per person. Through mid-January, the company’s offering team drivers an $200 extra per month.
Trucking giants nationwide are scrambling to find new drivers
Schneider’s pay bumps reveal how even major trucking companies are struggling to staff up.
A trucking recession last year and this spring forced tens of thousands of truck drivers to leave the industry, many of them opting for retirement. But now that loads are increasing — a sign that the economy’s creeping back to some level of normalcy — their former employers are feeling their absence.
“The trucking industry had a slow period for a while — then, all the sudden, boom,” Cathy Roberson, the founder of research firm Logistics Trends & Insights, told Business Insider last week.
Trucking rates in the spot market, where loads are picked up in real-time without a contract, are especially high right now. Truckstop.com chief relationship officer Brent Hutto told Business Insider earlier this month that market has gone “ballistic.” Those rates have pulled many away from their regular customers, exacerbating the driver shortage.
That’s forcing companies like Amazon to take unprecedented moves to make sure your Prime packages show up on time, as Business Insider reported last week. And it means big truckers like Schneider are ready to pay cold hard cash to make sure its trucks — and your stuff — are still moving.
Are you a truck driver with an opinion on the hiring surge? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.