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Thread: Truckers Boosted Hiring at Fastest Pace Since 2015

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    Truckers Boosted Hiring at Fastest Pace Since 2015

    Freight haulers added 5,600 jobs last month as companies raised driver pay and shipping prices to meet strong demand

    Trucking companies hired new workers at the fastest pace in nearly three years in February as operators rushed to keep up with a red-hot U. S. freight market.

    Carriers added 5,600 jobs last month, the U. S. Department of Labor said Friday. It was largest such increase since May 2015, and came as the jobs report showed robust growth across industries including construction and manufacturing that feed transportation demand. Unemployment held at 4.1% for the fifth straight month, the lowest level since December 2000.

    The hiring at trucking fleets is a 'a welcome sign” in a market where carriers have struggled to bring in drivers to meet demand, said Eric Starks, chief executive of transportation research firm FTR.

    Shippers have been scrambling to hire enough trucks as freight volumes have remained strong even during a traditionally slow first quarter. Bad weather and a new federal safety rule have contributed to the shortage. Higher transportation costs have weighed on profits at companies like wholesaler US Foods Holding Corp. and Prestige Brands Holdings Inc., which sells over-the-counter medicines, and could ultimately lead to higher consumer prices.

    February’s trucking job gains may be hard to match as the shipping seasons heats up in spring and summer, Mr. Starks said. 'I’m concerned because of how tight things are in a soft period,” he said. 'There’s a lot of freight in the system.”

    Hiring activity in other logistics sectors was more muted. Parcel-delivery companies added 800 jobs last month, continuing an 11-month expansion.

    Warehousing and storage companies added 400 workers in February, a modest increase compared with the preholiday hiring boom last fall, when payrolls in the sector soared by more than 16,000 jobs over two months as fulfillment centers scaled up to meet growing e-commerce demand.

    Truck operators have been stepping up pay and bonuses for drivers and increasingly say they’ve been able to pass along their rising labor costs to customers. The average price to hire the most common type of big rig on the spot market, where companies book last-minute transportation, was up 31% in February compared with the same month in 2017, according to online freight marketplace DAT Solutions LLC.

    Old Dominion Freight Line , Inc., one of the country’s biggest trucking companies, said this week its daily shipment count soared 13% last month from a year ago and that a key measure of pricing was up 5.9%. The company said its growth rate accelerated from the fourth quarter.

    Still, the broader growth in the jobs market may make it tougher for fleets to find drivers because trucking competes for workers with industries such as construction, which added 61,000 workers in February, the biggest increase in 11 years.

    'We are seeing a huge shortage of drivers,” said Melissa Hassett, vice president of client delivery for ManpowerGroup Solutions, a subsidiary of staffing agency ManpowerGroup Inc. 'There literally are not enough people with a (commercial driver’s license) to run all the trucks that are needed to move product today.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trucker...015-1520620414

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    You mean to tell me that these lazy Millennials are actually getting jobs once they start paying well? That's inconceivable. (Sarcasm)

    We may joke about the work ethic of this new generation, but at the end of the day, money talks and bullshit walks. I wouldn't want to be in a generation that was told unpaid internships are the way to get a mediocre-paying job, either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Docker View Post
    Old Dominion Freight Line , Inc., one of the country’s biggest trucking companies, said this week its daily shipment count soared 13% last month from a year ago and that a key measure of pricing was up 5.9%. The company said its growth rate accelerated from the fourth quarter.
    Change at the top for national LTL powerhouse ODFL: Congdon retiring, Gantt to take over as CEO

    Effective May 16, Greg C. Gantt is succeeding David S. Congdon, who has served as Chief Executive Officer since January 2008 and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors since May 2015. Gantt, who will also retain his current title of president, originally joined ODFL as a Regional Vice President in 1994 and has assumed ever-increasing roles and responsibilities over the past 24 years.

    There is a change at the top of Old Dominion Freight Line (ODFL), the nation’s most profitable less-than-truckload (LTL) company, but the company is promising no change in its customer-centric focus to success in the regional, interregional and long-haul focus on service.

    The new regime at the top of ODFL’s executives’ ladder also says it has no intention of giving up the mantle as the most profitable company in trucking, as based on its operating ratios. ODFL said its board, as part of its designed succession plan, approved strategic leadership changes that provide continuity for both its executive leadership team and its long-term strategy.

    Effective May 16, Greg C. Gantt is succeeding David S. Congdon, who has served as Chief Executive Officer since January 2008 and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors since May 2015. Gantt, who will also retain his current title of president, originally joined ODFL as a Regional Vice President in 1994 and has assumed ever-increasing roles and responsibilities over the past 24 years.

    At that time Congdon will become Executive Chairman of the Board, succeeding current Executive Chairman Earl E. Congdon Jr., who will transition to the role of Senior Executive Chairman in mid-May. Earl Congdon and his son, David, will both remain executive officers.

    In the past 84 years, ODFL has grown from its founding in 1934 when Earl and Lillian Congdon began with a single truck running between Richmond and Norfolk, Va. After Earl Congdon died, Lillian Congdon assumed the presidency and was joined by sons Earl Jr. and Jack.

    Under the Congdon’s, ODFL has successfully grown from a sleepy Southeast regional LTL carrier into a national powerhouse. ODFL has managed the difficult feat of expanding into new markets and longer haul services while growing profitability.

    Last year, ODFL enjoyed $463.8 million net profit ($575.9 million operating income) on $3.35 billion revenue. In 2016, ODFL posted $295.7 million net profit ($483.8 million operating income) on $2.95 billion revenue. It had an eye-popping 82.9 operating ratio last year compared to an 83.8 OR in 2016. By comparison, many large LTL operators say they’re having a good year when they post ORs in the lower 90s.

    'Dave led ODFL during a period of rapid growth--both organically and with strategic acquisitions-- and accomplished that while maintaining the best operating margin of public carriers in the market,” Satish Jindel, who closely tracks the LTL sector as principal of SJ Consulting, Pittsburgh, told LM. 'He developed a culture at ODFL such that they are driven to provide the best value to the customers but for the right price.”

    Regularly posting operating ratios in the mid-80s, ODFL perennially leads all LTL carriers in profitability while posting double-digit growth in revenue. Usually when a trucking company expands into new territory, it tries to win market share at the expense of profitability—but ODFL has turned the envious trick of doing both simultaneously.

    That eye-popping growth continues today. ODFL reported 17.9 percent growth in LTL tons per day in February compared to February 2017 due to a 13% increase in LTL shipments per day and a 4.4% increase in LTL weight per shipment. For the quarter-to-date period, LTL revenue per hundredweight increased 5.9% as compared to the same period last year, ODFL said.

    'Our quarter-to-date revenue growth accelerated as compared to the growth rate in our fourth quarter of 2017, as we continue to benefit from ongoing strength in the domestic economy and a positive yield environment,” David Congdon said in a statement.

    'We believe that we can win additional market share in this current environment by continuing to deliver superior service at a fair price, while also investing in the long-term capacity of our network to support increasing customer demand,” Congdon added.

    Father Earl Congdon said a big part of Old Dominion’s success has been its 'consistent approach to operating with a long-term perspective.” The succession announcement reflected ODFL board’s thoughtful approach to timely and careful succession planning, he added.

    'We are fortunate to have a remarkable team, and we are committed to developing leaders from within as part of our unique culture,” Earl Congdon said. 'This culture -- our OD Family Spirit -- has been cultivated for decades and is critical to our long-term performance.”

    'I could not be prouder of what we have accomplished nor more excited about our future,” Earl Congdon added.

    Analyst Jindel said he expects ODFL to continue leading the LTLs in profitability because of David Congdon’s vision and leadership savvy. 'He mentored management to take on bigger responsibility such that in last few years, the CFO has been replaced and now the CEO is being replaced by home grown managers who will continue to produce the industry best results for the customers, the shareholders and the employees,” Jindel said.

    Gantt said he is 'humbled by the opportunity” to lead ODFL. He said he wants to enhance ODFL’s market position and drive continued growth in shareholder value at Old Dominion.

    Jindel said the rest of the LTL industry to learn from ODFL’s basic tenets of success. 'The lesson for other carriers from Dave’s success is that you as the carrier needs to have control over the price and service combination you want to provide, get paid properly for it and have the willingness to walk away if the shippers want unreasonable pricing,” he said.

    'ODFL has time and again demonstrated its ability to manage that in times of excess capacity (2008-2010) and tight capacity (2017-2018), and that all public carriers can operate below 90 OR,” Jindel said.

    https://www.logisticsmgmt.com/articl...tiring_gantt_t


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