The biggest less-than-truckload carriers got bigger in 2010, with the number of LTL trucking companies with more than $1 billion in revenue climbing to nine.
R+L Carriers of Wilmington, Ohio, rejoined LTL's "billion-dollar club" in 2010, increasing its LTL revenue 12.2 percent, according to SJ Consulting Group estimates.
R+L fell below the billion-dollar revenue mark during the 2009 recession.
As a group, the billion-dollar club increased its LTL revenue 16 percent from 2009, outperforming the top 25 LTL trucking companies ranked by SJ Consulting.
The select carrier group recovered more than half the revenue lost in the 2009 recession, when its combined sales dropped 29.3 percent from 2008.
The top 25 LTL carriers increased revenue 9.4 percent in 2010, partially recovering from a 24.4 percent plunge in sales in, according to the SJ Consulting data.
As a whole, the LTL industry increased revenue 9.1 percent in 2010 to $27.5 billion, the research and consulting firm said.
The nine LTL billionaires accounted for $18.5 billion of the $24.1 billion in revenue at the top 25 carriers. They represented 67.5 percent of the total LTL market.
The fastest growing carrier in the group was FedEx Freight, which saw its LTL revenue spike 22.2 percent in 2010, according to SJ Consulting estimates.
FedEx Freight, Con-way Freight and YRC, the national arm of YRC Worldwide, were the three largest LTL carriers, ranked in that order by LTL revenue.
Estes Express Lines was the largest privately owned LTL carrier, followed by R+L.
The billion-dollar segment of the LTL industry also includes ABF Freight System, Old Dominion Freight Line, UPS Freight and YRC Worldwide's regional LTL group.
The complete report on the top 25 LTL carriers will be published in the March 28 issue of The Journal of Commerce and will be available to JOC members online.
-- Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com.