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Driver pay needs to rise by 50%: Fleet execs
ATLANTA, (Oct. 13, 2004) -- A handful of CEO's from some of the largest carriers in the U.S. admit that driver pay is going to have to jump up substantially -- as much as 50 per cent -- if the driver shortage crisis is ever going to be corrected. Speaking at a conference in Atlanta several trucking executives the industry's single biggest cost -- driver pay -- would have to increase from an average of $ 40,000 to $55,000 US range to well over $60,000 US if carriers ever hope to recruit drivers and increase freight capacity, the Financial Times reports. The publication quotes a handful of trucking industry leaders, including Scott Arves, president of transportation for Schneider National, who said the industry had reached a consensus on the need for higher wages but "lack of courage" was preventing freight carriers from swallowing such a sharp increase in costs. Executives warned that freight companies were reluctant to absorb higher labour costs at a time when their businesses were under pressure from high fuel prices, rising highway tolls, worsening traffic congestion, increased regulation and growing litigation risks. Conference participants highlighted poor quality of life as another cause of the shortage of truck drivers, the Times reports. Kirk Thompson, president of JB Hunt, says trucking is not a very glamorous lifestyle, and that the tough operating environment needs to be offset with higher compensation. -- from the Financial Times
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