SURREY, B.C. — Trucking firm Coastal Pacific Xpress has sweetened the pay packets of its owner/operators for the second time since October, a move necessary to avert the driver shortage crisis in the industry, says the company.
The company estimates this increase, together with the one that took effect in October, will see the typical CPX owner/operator earn 45 per cent more in take-home pay. The company uses about 255 owner/operator trucks.
“The industry pay level for owner/operators is simply not high enough,” said CPX general manager Jim Mickey. “A typical owner/operator needs to have as much as a 20 per cent increase in his or her per-mile income from current industry levels just to make ends meet.”
He continued saying industry pay levels must be high enough so drivers can log 10,000 miles per month and earn enough both to cover all the costs of ownership of the truck, including maintenance and repairs, and still earn a wage of at least $25 per hour.
Mickey hopes that some of his drivers will choose to use the higher per-mile pay to work less now and have a much more sustainable work-life balance. The long-haul trucking business faces a serious shortage of drivers, due in part to the aging population and the fact trucking is no longer the attractive job it once was, said Mickey, adding the single largest barrier to attracting new drivers is the long working hours brought about by declining pay rates over the previous two decades.
The latest increase, retroactive to February 1, 2006, will cost CPX more than $3 million in 2006, said Mickey.
“But it is something that must be done as part of CPX’s prescription for this industry – before it reaches a crisis point where there are simply no drivers to deliver the goods to market and nothing on store shelves for consumers,” he added.
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