Feb. 12–U.S. Xpress, one of the country’s largest truckload carriers, launched a new incentive program today that allows team drivers to earn bonuses of up to $50,000 with four weeks of paid vacation in a single year.
The Chattanooga-based trucking giant said the bonuses and other new incentives are being added to help attract and retain more team drivers to expedite shipments as the demand for quicker deliveries grow. The new pay levels and benefits are being offered to both new and existing drivers.
“With the continued growth of e-commerce, more and more consumers expect their packages to arrive within 1-2 days, not in three or four days,” Eric Fuller, CEO of U.S. Xpress, said in an announcement of the enhanced pay and benefits for team drivers. “This dynamic has completely changed how U.S. Xpress supports the shipping demands of our customers today, especially when it comes to major retailers like Amazon, Walmart and others who are driving the need for expedited freight services to record levels in the trucking industry.”
Nearly 400,000 people a year in the United States obtain commercial driver licenses (CDLs), but the American Trucking Association estimates there is a shortage of at least 50,000 drivers and team drivers who can keep trucks operating nearly around the clock are most in demand.
Despite higher pay for drivers, the nomadic life and long rides cause many drivers to leave the profession or give up on long-haul driving.
Last year, other major trucking companies also boosted pay or benefits to attract more drivers. Covenant Transport of Chattanooga offered drivers a run home every other week and a guaranteed $100-per-day late pay. Forward Air of Greenville, Tenn., touts that two-driver team can now travel 5,800 miles every week and gross up to $392,000 per year before expenses.
The new program at U.S. Xpress to encourage team driving provides more than just extra pay, Fuller said. Drivers in U.S. Xpress’ TeamMAX program will have first priority for the newest trucks, get top priority at the service centers so they have minimal downtime, and can earn up to 82 cents per mile (CPM), which Fuller said is one of the industry’s best rates.
Compensation for TeamMax drivers at U.S. Xpress are in the top 10 percent in the industry with annual pay levels of $87,500 a year or more per driver, according to the company. U.S. Xpress will pay eligible drivers 82 cents per mile, including a 22 cents per mile monthly mileage bonus, and a 5 cents per mile bonus for a 45-day stay out.
“Add the new $50,000 in bonuses for teams, four weeks paid vacation depending on mileage, plus excellent benefits including medical, dental, vision and 401k match and and you have an unprecedented pay package for CDL team drivers,” U.S. Xpress said in the announcement of the new driver pay package.
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