Covenant boosts pay to keep more drivers

Covenant boosts pay to keep more drivers

September 4th, 2014 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

A Covenant Transport truck drives along I-24 over Cummings Highway

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

Covenant Transport Inc. has boosted its mileage rates and tuition reimbursement for most of its 2,300 drivers to help maintain and recruit workers as the shipping industry rebounds from the recession.

The Chattanooga-based trucking company said Wednesday it has raised its mileage pay by 6 percent over the past year to help attract hazmat-certified team drivers for its over-the-road program.

Covenant said it also is adding a new tuition reimbursement program to provide employees up to $15,000 for training costs and is adding a "Peak Pay" program that will reward professional drivers that haul loads for the company from October through January. Covenant also said a new program for drivers will help ensure the company does more to reward drivers' home time needs.

"Professional drivers are the cornerstone of our industry and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to hire, retain, and cultivate a safe professional driving force," Covenant Chief Operating Officer Sam Hough said in a statement.

Last month, U.S. Xpress Enterprises announced it was implementing a new pay scale that raises average mileage reimbursements by 13 percent for its over-the-road, solo, nondedicated drivers. Such drivers carry freight across 48 states for U.S. Xpress, one of the nation's biggest long-haul trucking firms.

American trucking companies are trying to fill positions to meet the rising demand for shipped goods and to fill the void left by aging truckers, and truckers disqualified or disgruntled with the business because of personal demands, government regulations or increased drug and licensing requirements.