USxpressRoad Photo: Sean Kilcarr/American Trucker

Fleets continue offering pay increases

Pay push aimed at solo drivers, teams, and contractors.

The latest round of pay package increases by fleets for truck drivers represents a broad effort to attract solo drivers, contractors, and teams.

Kansas City-based dry van TL carrier American Central Transport (ACT) will be increasing both contractor and company driver pay February 28 and add a new bonus incentive for just its company drivers.

ACT said its contractors will be paid an additional two cents per mile under its new pay plan, while company drivers will receive an across-the-board pay raise and become eligible for up to a $500 monthly bonus as part of the motor carrier’s new "Drive Your Pay" bonus plan.

The company is also adding in detention pay, worth $20 per hour for all qualifying loads.

ACT, which provides service throughout the eastern half of the U.S., was originally founded in 1926 as E.K. Motor Service. The company was later renamed ACT after its purchase by the Kretsinger family in 1972, who still run it today.

"Our freight demand has increased, and this has allowed us to offer these major boosts to our pay package," noted Phil Wilt, ACT's president and COO, in a statement. "Every month, company drivers will earn a bonus of $150 once they have driven 9,000 miles, and the bonus amounts will increase with each thousand miles they drive, up to a monthly payment of $500 for 12,000 miles driven."

Chattanooga, TN-based U.S. Xpress is offering a new package of benefits under its “TeamMAX” program that would allow current and future teams to earn total bonuses of $50,000 with up to four weeks of paid vacation in a single year.  

The TeamMAX program also provides additional perks, the company said, such as getting “first priority” for the newest trucks, top priority at U.S. Xpress service centers to minimize downtime, and the chance to can earn up to 82 cents per mile. U.S. Xpress added that all of its drivers, TeamMAX operators included, are provided with a benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision and a 401(k) match.

“With the continued growth of e-commerce, more and more consumers expect their packages to arrive within one to two days, not in three or four days,” noted Eric Fuller, CEO of U.S. Xpress, in a statement. “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.” 

He noted that recruiting and retaining team drivers in today’s highly competitive job market is not just about pay, either. “It’s also about a lifestyle. This is why U.S. Xpress specifically designed the new bonus program as a way for new and current team drivers to make more money but also to earn up to four weeks of paid vacation each year,” Fuller pointed out.

Then there is Milan, TN-based Milan Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., which is boosting pay for its company drivers, independent contractors, and teams.

Effective immediately, an experienced company driver will be paid 40 cents to 50 cents per mile, which typically results in annual earnings of $60,320 to $73,320 based on 2,500 miles per week, Milan said.

Teams will now make 49 cents to 52 cents per mile, according to Milan, which typically results in annual earnings of $140,920 to $148,720 for teams accruing 5,000 miles per week.

Milan is also increasing pay for its independent contractors, for both owner-operators and lease-purchase drivers. Owner-operators will now make $1.10 per mile, which includes fuel surcharge, on loaded miles, realizing annual earnings of $186,000 when accruing 2,500 miles per week. Lease purchase drivers will now make $1.07 per mile with the fuel surcharge included on loaded miles, grossing $182,000 when accumulating 2,500 miles per week.

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