Watch Now

‘Even stronger summer than last year’ sends driver pay higher

Following year-end increases, compensation still going up

Driver pay still on the rise (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Crete Carrier and Shaffer Trucking has announced a pay increase for drivers in its regional and national over-the-road fleets starting May 1.

New OTR drivers will now see pay rates between 59 and 65 cents per mile depending on their level of experience. The fleets’ pay program uses “practical miles,” which the company on Friday said results in “an average of 3-5% more than pay based on short route miles.” The increase applies to all solo, team and owner-operator drivers on per-mile pay plans in the national and regional OTR fleets.

The carrier said the pay increase will place the top half of its OTR drivers at an average annual pay rate of $89,300.

Crete Carrier President and COO Tim Aschoff, in a notification on the company blog, attributed the pay increase to “an expected economic recovery as the nation begins to emerge from the COVID-driven downturn.” “We are at the cusp of a rising tide here. It’s going to be an even stronger summer than last year.”

The Lincoln, Nebraska-based company is a private, family-owned carrier operating more than 5,500 power units, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The carrier also offers a benefits package and said it made $12 million in profit-sharing contributions to employee retirement accounts in 2020.

Throughout the industry, carriers continue to raise driver pay to keep their equipment seated and on the road. A long stretch of high demand, which is the result of consumers spending more on hard goods to improve their stay-at-home lifestyles, keeps the need for trucking capacity elevated.

Available capacity declined significantly in 2020 due to a slew of early driver retirements, the impacts of the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, and diminished driver school enrollments.

The result has been a sustained period of tender rejections from carriers, a proxy for truck capacity, of more than 20%. The index now sits at a record level, 28.3%.

Chart: (SONAR: OTRI.USA). To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.

Joliet, Illinois-based logistics provider GP Transco told FreightWaves that its drivers earned 60 cents per mile on average during 2020. The company’s pay rate includes base pay, profit-sharing and accessorial pay for layovers and extra stops. GP Transco also bumps profit-sharing compensation by 1 cent per mile for every six months of “safe driving, on-time performance and overall driver professionalism.” Its profit-sharing plan starts off at 6 cents per mile.

Currently, GP Transco’s W-2 compensated solo OTR drivers make up to $89,000 annually in addition to benefits and 401(k) matching.

Aschoff said Crete Carrier and Shaffer Trucking’s long-term customers understand the recent change in capacity dynamics and are willing to adjust rates to make sure their capacity needs are filled. And that means higher pay to drivers. “We know that we need to lead the industry and pay drivers what they deserve,” Aschoff added.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.


  1. Michael Page

    I was placed as a refusal by a collector with whom i didn’t get along with…primarily because of sleep deprivation & fatigue. My actions, while inexcusable didn’t, in my opinion, rise to the level of deserving permanent banishment. My stellar record of 27 years of accident free driving, incident free drug testing have now vanished because of a Karen. Having completed a costly government mandated SAP program, & now eligible for STD status since November, i find myself in the precarious position of being ostracized from this community. I even had one company tell me they were only hiring recent SAP graduates who were sanctioned for positive marijuana results. Go figure. Want to work…but no takers. Perhaps i can get a job driving an ice cream truck in the coming months.

    1. Stephen Webster

      I know of a produce transport company out of Windsor that would hire you to pull reefer trailer you could stay in the U S call 5195239586. Very good company. They have me working part time as my health allows even with a bad right foot and damaged kidney and blood sugar issues.

  2. Mike Morenzetti

    I work for Crete Carrier and I’ll tell you they are one of the best company’s out here and will work here until I retire.

  3. Stephen Webster

    Many truck drivers that are sick end up in homeless shelters in Ontario Canada. To attack the truck driver shortage government assistance in insurance of new truck drivers and pay starting at 1.5 times min wage going up each year a truck driver with 5 years experience is making 2 times min wage on payroll plus a good medical plan plus overtime after 10 hours per day. The O T A and the On. gov assistance please n a parking plan and drivers treatment at certain large receiver’s and shippers will make the truck driver shortage disappeare.

Comments are closed.

Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.