ABF Freight System is looking at new growth areas, including potential acquisitions, as the freight carrier seeks to build its business beyond its long-haul, less-than-truckload core operations, according to new President and CEO Roy Slagle.
Speaking at the recent Transcomp 2011 and Intermodal Expo, Slagle, outlined additions from the recently added Ocean LTL service to expanded intermodal offerings that signal changes underway at one of the United States’ largest trucking businesses.
“We now consider ourselves a global supply chain provider,” Slagle told reporters in Atlanta.
The company’s national LTL linehaul map is changing, he said, to the point where “more of our shipments now are regional than are longhaul.” Once shared by three large carriers, the longhaul LTL business has been sharply reduced by competition from more nimble, non-union regional players and changing supply chain strategies.
Slagle said ABF is joining some of the competition with growth in truckload and intermodal service. The company’s relatively small truckload brokerage unit will add intermodal brokerage to its service this year, he said.
Bigger changes may come under a Horizon Growth Initiative Judy McReynolds, the chairman of ABF and president and CEO of parent Arkansas Best, is leading to assess ideas for growth at the transportation operator.
“That could lead to the possibility of a strategic acquisition,” Slagle said. He would not discuss details on what areas ABF might look at for acquisitions.
“We have the dry powder to invest when the business demands it,” he said.