The ante for new drivers has been upped. Cowan Systems plans to pay sign-on bonuses as high as $20,000 to regional drivers willing to join the company.

The nearly 100-year-old Baltimore-based carrier said the incentive program is set up to guarantee at least a $15,000 bonus to all new driver hires. Cowan will pay $17,500 to drivers with either one year of experience with their current employer or a hazmat endorsement. Drivers with both will receive the $20,000 payout. 

The enhanced pay is eligible to qualified CDL-A drivers who join Cowan by Oct. 1.

“New drivers to Cowan Systems will get more than half of their payout amount within the first six months. This isn’t a sign-on bonus that pays you tiny sums for years,” said Steve Wells, COO. “Professional truck drivers who join us now will get their full payout in less than 18 months.”

The industry’s battle for qualified drivers is often being described as once-in-a-career.

Freight demand remains at historic highs on the back of a strong consumer and as retailers continue to restock their shelves. Attractive employment opportunities in other industries and lasting concerns over COVID have resulted in drivers going elsewhere. While driver schools are ramping enrollment efforts following a year of limited activity, the fix seems like it is still a long way off.

“Once a driver is scheduled for an orientation, we provide the driver in writing the Regional Road Incentive amount, how they qualified for it and a clear payment schedule,” Heather Fenner, VP of human resources, stated.

Cowan is a full-service transportation and logistics company, specializing in dedicated TL, intermodal, warehousing and brokerage services, with a fleet of more than 2,000 tractors and 6,000 trailers.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

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