This article has been corrected, April 8, 2011.
The less-than-truckload industry grew 9.1 percent in 2010, as total U.S. LTL revenue rose from $25.2 billion to $27.5 billion, according to an industry study.
The top 25 LTL carriers increased their revenue 9.8 percent from $22 billion to $24.2 billion, the study said.
It was the strongest LTL expansion since 2005, when a 9.9 percent increase in revenue took LTL trucking companies to the top of the last economic cycle.
The 2010 gain in revenue represents a partial recovery from 2009, when LTL revenue plunged 24.4 percent, perhaps the worst contraction in trucking history.
The 2009 recession cost the LTL industry $8.1 billion out of $33.3 billion in total industry revenue in 2008, according to the SJ Consulting Group study.
The SJ Consulting study, which ranks the top 25 LTL trucking companies by LTL revenue, revealed a widespread if incomplete recovery among those carriers.
(The study ranks carriers by LTL revenue alone, excluding revenue from non-LTL sources, such as truckload carriage and third-party logistics, where possible.)
Only one of the 25 companies saw LTL revenue decrease last year, with revenue rising 12.9 percent on average among the remaining 24 LTL motor carriers.
Growth rates among the top 25 ranged from 2 to 30 percent. Last year, every carrier on the SJ Consulting list shrank, with sales falling between 10.1 and 47.3 percent.
Roadrunner Transportation, Cudahy, Wis., had the strongest growth last year, increasing its LTL revenue 29.7 percent and moving up the list to No. 14.
The company that had lower LTL revenue in 2010 was YRC National, the national division of YRC Worldwide.
YRC National's LTL revenue slipped 16.8 percent from 2009, according to Pittsburgh-based SJ Consulting.
A complete report on the top 25 LTL carriers will be published in the March 28 issue of The Journal of Commerce and be available online to JOC members.
-- Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com.