Increased competition for graduates of driver training schools and a strengthening housing construction market made driver retention a continuing issue during the second quarter, according to Werner Enterprises.
Although the company increased its hiring rate from the same period last year, Werner said it is having difficulty hitting its 7,300-driver target for the truckload sector. Company officials remain confident, though, that they will attract the needed drivers in the market.
“Approximately 70 percent of our driving jobs are in more attractive, shorter-haul regional and dedicated fleet operations that enable us to return these drivers to their homes on a more frequent and consistent basis,” the company said.
As for how the new hours of service rules will impact driver retention and the overall shortage, the carrier said it’s still anybody’s guess. One thing is for certain, though, a capacity crunch is around the corner.
“It is too early to measure the ongoing impact of the HOS changes on driver and truck productivity,” Werner said in a statement. “The company is taking steps to attempt to minimize the impact of the HOS changes. However, government restrictions of available driving hours will negatively impact the productivity of some drivers and some fleets within our company.”
Werner’s total revenues for the second quarter fell by 3 percent compared to the same period last year, ending the quarter at $506.6 million. Trucking revenues declined by 4 percent, but revenues for Werner’s value-added services sector rose by 7 percent. Net income fell by 17 percent, year over year, to $42.36 million. - Jon Ross