Article

One on One with Jerry Moyes, Swift Transportation

April 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

by Jason Rhyno, contributor

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As CEO and founder of Swift Transportation, the largest trucking company in the U.S., Jerry Moyes knows a thing or two about trucking.
Jerry Moyes is the CEO and founder of Swift Transportation, the largest trucking company in the U.S.
Jerry Moyes is the CEO and founder of Swift Transportation, the largest trucking company in the U.S.
He'll be a keynote speaker at Canada's Truck World show later this month, and here he shares his thoughts on trucking's challenges and opportunities, from the promise of natural gas to finding and keeping good drivers.

When did you realize you were destined for trucking?

My father used to drive for C.R. England, and as a young kid - 5 or 6 years old - I was always in the truck and driving with dad. So I've just always been around trucking my whole life. It was the direction I was going from day one.

Any lessons you learned in the early days of Swift?

We came up during the years of regulation, when we had to have ICC authority and you had to do it differently or better than the existing carrier to be able to get the authority. With that background, we always ask how do we do it differently and how do we do it better to get the business.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for trucking companies in 2012?

Government regulations. We're just getting bombarded with various government regulations from CSA to different engine EPA requirements. Our costs are going up dramatically, too. I've never been in an era when costs are as high as they are. That's our number one challenge: what we are going to do from a costing side going forward?

Swift has been experimenting with LNG (liquified natural gas). Where are you now?

We're very excited about it. We have three different test projects that we are working on today. One is the Cummins 8.9-liter that is very underpowered, but we're working some dedicated operations where we don't need a lot of power. We're also testing a Cummins 11.9-liter engine that has some great promise.

We're also involved with a company where we are mixing CNG (compressed natural gas) and diesel - a hybrid that we're getting some excellent results on.

We really believe that natural gas is a thing of the future. There's probably a five-year window to get into it. The manufacturers, like Cummins, are just starting to develop their 11.9-liter engines today. I don't know exactly what their time frame is on their 15-liter - probably a year or two behind. But we really think that this industry over the next five years could be close to 50% natural gas.

How should a carrier treat its drivers?

I've been in this business for 45 years and the number one problem has always been drivers. It's not going to change. For us to solve this, we've got to give them a lot more money. It's still a very difficult job, even though I believe the job itself is getting much better because they aren't required to unload like they used to and the equipment is getting so much better.

The offset of that is that we aren't getting the driver that's the old trucker anymore, it's the opposite of that: It's the new kid that's coming off the street. He wants all these different benefits and he's just not willing to work in the way that the older driver is. The industry has to look at that: number one, we have a different driver we gotta take care of - he has different attitudes and different wants - and number two, we gotta pay him more money.

If you could give one piece of advice to a company that was on the cusp of taking its business to the next level, what would it be?

Watch the numbers. You've got to know where you are on a daily basis as far as revenue and miles. Break everything down.

If you could go on a long-haul with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

Well, my dad died 25 years ago and he and I used to drive together. So if I had to select someone, it would probably be my father. It would just be fun to go trucking with him again.

This article originally appeared in Today's Trucking magazine.

Comments

  1. 1. Gary Ledgett [ April 12, 2013 @ 08:28AM ]

    Well mr. Moyes I'm a current driver for swift, I've been driving solo for a year now and I have no real complaints about the company over all and I'm in it for the duration. This is my dream job, my passion, and my lifestyle thank you for giving me the opportunity to live out my dreams.

  2. 2. dennis popielarczyk [ April 30, 2013 @ 10:12AM ]

    Just would like to say thank you, I am a old school driver that will help unload a trk. I am a o/o for swift trans and I always dreamed of becoming a o/o and swift made that dream a reality but in this business there is always going to be ups and downs it is just the business. Once again thank you Mr.Jerry Moyes for this opportunity.I am 58 now I will retire a swift employee

  3. 3. Jack Smothers [ July 22, 2013 @ 04:36AM ]

    I have worked at this company for 9 months now. This company has NO CARE for its drivers and their families. Jerry himself would cut your throat and kill your children if he could make a nickel off of it. But my time here is up. I have found a much better company to work for. I would gladly trade my time at this for a stay in prison. At least in prison an inmate won't lie to you before he kills you. They say there is honor among thieves, well that person never worked for swift. I have slept in my home bed 4 nights these past 9 months. Worked 7 days a week to bring home paychecks of $24.25, $63.66, $32.74, $119.25, $68.77, $143.93. And that was 7 days on the truck with no home time and no breakdowns. So his lying ass is right in saying he needs to pay better. But as long as Jerry needs to buy things like hockey teams and yachts my wife and kids can just starve. Thanks
    For my CDL now I'm going to make some other company a damn good safe employee. Hope you sleep well at night.

  4. 4. Laurie [ December 12, 2013 @ 12:45PM ]

    The equipment sales department at Swift is rude and unproffessional. Owen plays favorites with truck buyers. You practically have to beg to spend your money with them. Bill Martin was wonderful to deal with. Too bad hes been replaced with neverending vacationers who will only sell equipment to their buddies despite the fact other people are willing to pay for trucks NOW. How pathetic. I read Swifts mission statement and code of conduct for their employees. Their equipment sales reps and management should be fired pronto!

  5. 5. pete [ December 26, 2013 @ 04:00PM ]

    remember...you are just a number ...if you make a mistake..or two you are gone...

  6. 6. TJ [ February 11, 2014 @ 09:49PM ]

    well i have a big issue with a few diff areas with swift. i currently drive for them. i lease a truck from them. we are getting screwed out of so much money from swift transportation. get paid 1200 miles but the actual trip is 1350 miles so therefore we are not getting paid the mileage for that 150 miles and no fuel surcharge for that 150 miles.swift transportation is making billions of profit each year by shortchanging their drivers on their miles they are paying them. never get you home when u want. macro 30 choose your load is not worth a crap. give us a load board . but i will end up leaving swift because of the getting screwed out of 20,000 dollars a yr per drive on the low of 13,000 per driver per year of the paying mileage. pay your drivers the actual mileage.on that note. go screw your self

 

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