Roadrunner expanding to first new market in years

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Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Feb. 17, 2023:

Roadrunner adding Denver service

Roadrunner (CCJ Top 250, No. 100) is expanding its Smart Network with new inbound service to Denver – its first new market opening in years, continuing momentum from recently announced transit time reductions across 130 major lanes and the launch of the next-business-day service to and from SoCal and Chicago.

"At Roadrunner, our value proposition is long haul metro-to-metro shipping," said Tomasz Jamroz, Head of Technology, Operations and Linehaul. "Opening Denver fits our strategic goal of becoming the best carrier moving freight directly from one part of the country to another and is really an important step in optimizing our network and further reducing transit times."

The Roadrunner team utilizes proprietary optimization technology to build direct loads and eliminate rehandling. The company focuses on assuring the integrity of custodial control of customer freight through  the use of its Driver Teams that execute over-the-road moves (with no customer freight ever moving on rail) via the most direct route possible, eliminating the need to re-handle and thereby reducing the risk of loss or damage.

The service to Denver marks the first step of new market expansions, with openings of Kansas City and Portland planned for 2023.

Midwest Carriers raises pay

OTR truck drivers at Midwest Carriers will see bigger paychecks in 2023 with a 5-cent per mile pay increase, the company announced Thursday. The average OTR driver at Midwest will earn $95,539 this year. Local drivers see an hourly wage increase to $26/hour, with an additional $1/hour paid.

The move from 65 to 70 cents per mile for brings average weekly pay to $1,837 for Midwest Carriers OTR drivers. Employees at the Wisconsin-based company now earn wages 37% higher than the national average, according to American Trucking Associations data. The increase took effect Jan. 1, 2023. Midwest guarantees OTR drivers weekly minimum pay not dependent on miles driven so drivers are able to rely on consistent compensation.

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"Truck drivers deserve to be adequately compensated and valued for their hard work,” said Eric Jens, vice president of operations at Midwest. “At Midwest Carriers, we believe in recognizing our drivers with a competitive salary and full benefits. That’s a large reason why our retention rate is higher than our competitors — we’ve got a driver-focused culture and our compensation reflects that.”

The pay increase pairs with a decrease in healthcare premiums for drivers in the new year, costing just $49 weekly as of Jan. 1 for employee-only coverage. The affordable coverage is offered alongside other first-rate benefits provided to Midwest Carriers employees, including dental and vision insurance, matching 401(k), paid vacation and regularly scheduled home time. The company protects drivers with additional coverage, including employer-paid life insurance and short-term disability, as well as long-term disability.

Drivers are paid weekly via direct deposit and receive monthly performance bonuses, which are awarded after minimum milage is met weekly. Midwest Carriers is proud of its proven record of never laying off drivers and a significantly lower than industry average annual turnover.

Universities seek feedback on severe-weather parking

Two Florida universities are conducting a survey of truckers as part of efforts to identify safe truck parking during dangerous weather.

The study, conducted by the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida and the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University, will identify potential opportunities and challenges associated with identifying potential emergency parking locations throughout Florida to ensure the safety of drivers and their trucks during severe weather events.

Severe weather events are defined in the study as any dangerous weather event with the potential to cause damage or serious disruption, such as a hurricane, heavy precipitation, fog, fire smoke, or high winds. Such events of course often enough yield unsafe driving conditions, necessitating a safe emergency parking location. 

The survey defines such a location as a site designated and reserved for parking trucks during a severe weather event until the drivers can resume normal operations. These locations will be in support of the existing public and private truck parking network. These locations would be available and free for any truck driver until they can resume normal operations. 

"As a professional with first-hand experience in the trucking industry in Florida, your participation in this survey will help us identify and prioritize potential emergency truck parking locations to ensure the safety of drivers and their trucks during severe weather events," researchers said.

The survey does not include any questions about your personal or institutional identity. The collected data will be summarized for reporting purposes. 

Take the survey here.