Forward Air announces its largest rate increase for capacity providers

Pay rates continue to step higher as industry struggles to find incremental capacity

Asset-light trucking and logistics provider Forward Air (NASDAQ: FWRD) announced Friday the largest per-mile rate increase in company history for the independent contractor fleet in its less-than-truckload and truckload divisions.

The company implemented an 11-cent-per-mile increase for team owner-operators and a 5-cent increase for individual owner-operators. The increase is part of the company’s efforts to “grow our business in stride with the businesses of our leased capacity providers that consist of independent contractor fleets and owner operators,” according to the release.

Forward also announced a sign-on bonus — $10,000 for team trucks and $4,000 for solo trucks — to assist providers that are transitioning to owner-operators or fleet owners. The company’s fleet program also pays an additional per-mile rate to capacity owners based on the number of seated trucks signed up for the program.

“Our business is currently experiencing solid volume growth and we are focused on our commitment to delivering our customers’ freight with precision execution. To accomplish this, we understand that we must retain our existing fleet and attract new independent contractors and fleet owners to become business partners with the Forward team,” said Tom Schmitt, chairman, president and CEO.

Lack of capacity continues to be a headwind for the industry given recent dynamics — high demand, driver schools operating at half capacity, the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, and fears of the coronavirus.

Forward’s LTL and TL fleet partners service the company’s terminal-to-terminal national LTL network. The press release said Forward can connect interested drivers to one of its capacity provider partners.

“We are excited to see the significant impact today’s announcement will have on our fleet partners’ profitability. We hold firm to our commitment to grow their business as we grow ours — and this is the fourth significant rate increase we’ve rolled out in the last four years,” said Kyle Mitchin, chief people officer.

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