C.R. England Inc., one of the leading truck transporters of refrigerated commodities, said today it has raised the pay for certain company team drivers in its national and western regional divisions by an average of 26 percent.
Specific increases will vary depending on driver tenure, length of haul and other factors, Salt Lake City-based England said. The average pay hike will apply to team drivers with more than six months' experience, the company said.
Today's announcement marks the third pay increase this year for England's drivers. On March 2, the company raised the pay for solo drivers in its western region and instituted a bonus program for all company and independent-contractor driver trainers. On Jan. 19, it announced a pay raise of 4 cents a mile for all training miles driven by company trainers working in its national and regional divisions.
While carriers have struggled in recent years to recruit and retain drivers of all types, it has been even harder to recruit teams because there are fewer of them to begin with. As a result, teams command a 25- to 50-cent per mile rate premium over solo driver rates, according to IHS Inc., a consultancy.
About 30 percent of England's companywide driver fleet is composed of teams, according to David Allred, a company spokesman. For England's over-the-road operation, the figure is closer to 50 percent, Allred said.
Although England's teams are near the top of the compensation ladder is some segments of its business, "we felt we needed to make the appropriate adjustments in a couple of our divisions to put us on the higher side of the pay scale," Allred said in an e-mail.
Team drivers are especially important to England because, as predominantly a perishables carrier, it needs its fleet to log as many continuous miles as possible without running afoul of the federal government's driver hours-of-service regulations.
The company also provides dedicated and intermodal services. It operates in the U.S. and Mexico.