Regional less-than-truckload carrier Estes Express Lines Inc. said today that it will raise its tariff, or noncontractual, rates by 4.9 percent, effective Nov. 23.
The announcement marks Estes' second tariff-rate increase this year. Its last increase, of 4.5 percent, took effect Jan. 5.
"Estes maintains a solid fiscal discipline, and we made this increase decision only after careful evaluation of the current fiscal environment and industry conditions," Paul Dugent, the Richmond, Va.-based carrier's vice president of pricing, said in a statement. Compliance with more costly federal standards for fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly trucks, as well as the increased costs of attracting and retaining qualified drivers and investing in new equipment, were also factors behind the increase, Dugent said.
Privately held Estes spent more than $260 million in 2015 to buy more than 1,400 tractors and nearly 3,200 trailers. Most of the new equipment will replace older tractors and trailers, said Nick Scola, Estes' director of marketing. By year's end, nearly 40 percent of the tractor fleet will be two years old or newer, while 54 percent of its rigs will be three years old or less by 2016, according to Scola.
Estes is one of the nation's most highly regarded trucking firms, mainly due to its consistently high service levels and rational pricing methodology. It offers regional service within all 50 states and operates more than 760 million U.S. shipping lanes to offer next-day and second-day deliveries.