Roadway Express is hauling more truckload freight these days. So much, in fact, that based on revenue the unionized LTL carrier would rank among the nation's top 30 non-union truckload carriers.
"If you look at our statistics, our truckload business is growing ten, fifteen percent right now because we have drivers and they don't," Roadway president James Staley said in an exclusive interview with Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine.
Roadway reports that truckload business represents 7 percent of its total revenue which was a reported $2.65 billion in 1998. That would put Roadway's truckload business at about $185 million, in the same league as truckload carriers such as Burlington Motor Carriers, Inc., Daleville, IN, ($225 million) or Mercer Transportation Co., Louisville, KY, ($172.5 million).
Roadway maintains a truckload sales team called Roadway Volume Sales at its Akron headquarters, said Staley.
"They're handling thousands of calls a day from people looking for truckload rates," he said, adding that the rate of sales made or loads secured "is not great."
Nevertheless, said Staley, "the volume of calls just continues to increase, percentage secured increases and tonnage hauled increases. Probably our big problem is that we're just not known as a truckload carrier or even to be interested in a lot of truckload business."
Staley believes the truckload sector driver shortage has contributed to Roadway's increased truckload business.
"That's got to be the reason. You look at all the driver recruiting that goes on. I know that we don't have to recruit like that. We get a driver turnover of, on an annual basis including retirement, of less than 3 percent -- a lot different number than some of the truckload numbers."
Reliable numbers are not available, but driver turnover among truckload carriers varies widely from company to company and is estimated to range from 50 to 200 percent.
Roadway drivers are Teamster members working under the five-year National Master Freight Agreement reached in 1998.