Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Truck Drivin' Man

YRC moves to streamline network, provide shorter hauls for drivers

There is a reason that truck drivers are the subject of jukeboxes full of country songs. Longhaul truckers face long hours wrestling their big rigs down the highway, and too many nights away from their honky tonk angel back home. 

Keeping their Teamsters happy wasn't the stated motive of the extensive operational changes just announced by less-than-truckload (LTL) giant YRC Freight, but is an important added benefit in an industry that has struggled to keep enough drivers in their cabs.  

The LTL carrier is adding eight distribution centers (DCs) without building any new facilities, planning to unlock underutilized capacity by converting eight existing terminals to DCs. This will speed up service and effectively add 837 doors of "transfer capacity" to the YRC network, allowing the company to handle an additional 7,000 shipments a day. 


Changes to YRC Freight's US network will be matched by changes in its driver workforce. The company told the Teamsters union, which represents YRC's more than 7,000 drivers, it plans to create 84 "utility employee" positions for truck drivers. Operating within a 175-mile radius of the carrier's 31 DCs, these drivers will work in shorter haul lanes than traditional linehaul drivers, and be home most nights. Along with "meet and turn" relay operations handing off trucks from one driver to another, YRC expects to eliminate 195  layover trips and 267 overnight hotel stays each night, helping drivers get home faster and more often. 


Besides reuniting drivers and their families, the YRC steps will translate to a 15 percent overall increase in capacity by the time the network enhancement is completed in October, said YRC Freight president Darren Hawkins. The changes come as greater demand for LTL service is tightening capacity, with 11 straight months of manufacturing growth piling shipments onto LTL docks. 


Emerging trends in e-commerce are seeing companies place smaller DCs closer to customers, meaning incoming freight to those centers is more likely to be LTL rather than truckload, putting increased importance on the "middle mile" of any given cargo move.

So in the immortal words of the big rig classic song -
 "Convoy," "Let them truckers roll. 10-4." 

Kirk Shearer
800-989-0054 x103

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