Trucking company GP Transco announced Wednesday a “major base pay increase” for w-2 drivers. Solo company drivers will see 60 cents per mile in base pay, roughly 66 cents per mile in total when including accessorial pay for layovers and extra stops. Team drivers will earn a base rate of 75 cents per mile, nearly 80 cents all in.
Solo drivers who opt out of using driver-facing cameras will earn a base rate of 58 cents per mile as well as accessorial pay.
The increase in base pay, roughly 5 cents per mile in accessorial pay and access to the carrier’s fuel bonus program means solo drivers can expect to earn approximately 66 cents per mile, and potentially more, during their first year at the Joliet, Illinois-based company.
The company’s previous base pay was 52 cents per mile for solo drivers and 65 cents per mile for team drivers. Under the old plan, both groups were eligible for additional pay through the company’s performance-based profit-sharing program, which has been replaced by the new pay structure.
The press release said GP Transco’s company drivers can expect to earn $90,000 in their first year, with top performers seeing more than $100,000 annually after four years with the company.
GP Transco also announced a 1-cent-per-mile raise for qualifying drivers every six months. Solo drivers with four years at the company will earn roughly 73 cents per mile: 68 cents per mile in base pay and roughly 5 cents per mile in accessorial pay.
“This level of compensation was previously unheard-of in the trucking industry for full-time W-2 over-the-road, dry van solo drivers; GP Transco’s emphasis on employing only the most professional drivers is what drove the decision for the pay increase,” stated Marija Jamontas, VP of safety and administrative services.
Carriers across the industry continue to increase pay as capacity remains constrained, largely due to headwinds finding available drivers. The driver pool is estimated to have declined by 200,000 in 2020 due to failed drug tests and driving schools operating at diminished capacity. Concerns over contracting COVID and employment competition from other sectors like construction and warehousing have also taken a toll on driver availability.
That capacity backdrop has been met by strong consumer spending and an unending need to replenish inventories. The result has been a sustained period of tender rejections from carriers at rates greater than 20%.
Earlier Wednesday, Heartland Express (NASDAQ: HTLD) announced it would be raising driver pay again during the second quarter. The company previously implemented a pay increase of 6% on average in October.
“The freight market is doing well, and our contracted customers are extremely happy with the way our drivers are performing,” continued Jamontas. “The high pay combined with full benefits and 401(k) with a 5% match will also allow us to be even more selective in terms of recruiting incoming drivers.”