If you think we are having trouble getting drivers in Australia, a story from the USA this week shows the sort of thing that can happen when the truck driver shortage really bites.
US truck magazine Heavy Duty Trucking reports that a large flatbed carrier Montgomery Transport from Birmingham in Alabama, is levying a temporary driver shortage surcharge of five cents per mile. This surcharge is going to be passed on directly to the company’s drivers.
“This year has presented our industry with many challenges as supply chain constraints have forced all companies to adapt and discover new ways to push their businesses forward,” said Rollins Montgomery, CEO of Montgomery Transport, reports HDT. “The labour force has been affected particularly hard within the transportation industry, as many drivers have found new local opportunities and/or better pay in areas such as warehousing or final-mile delivery to support the e-commerce boom.”
The US trucking industry, like our own, is moving into the busiest season of the year with a shortage of good drivers and the vast increase in online shopping at this time of year is exacerbating the situation. The dearth of good drivers is particularly tough for flattop operators where basic roping, tarping and chaining skills are at a premium.
HDT tells us that interstate drivers will receive this extra ‘appreciation pay’ for every loaded mile from Nov. 2 to Jan. 31, 2022. Dedicated drivers will also receive an increase in daily pay over the same time period, but the company did not specify how much.
This is part of a number of measures which the company have tried this year to increase driver retention. In winter, when tarping is more challenging they increased tarp pay for legal standard loads from $35 to $50 and over-dimensional loads from $50 to $60.
Drivers who have been with Montgomery for at least 30 days are now eligible for guaranteed weekly minimum pay of up to $1,200. Previously, eligibility was after six months. Those who have been with the carrier for six months are now eligible for holiday pay rather than after one year.