The nation's 25 largest less-than-truckload motor carriers increased revenue 4.5 percent in 2012, a marked deceleration from 12 percent sales growth in 2011 and a 9.2 percent gain in 2010.
Slower economic growth in 2012 and tougher year-over-year comparisons with 2011 and 2010 are evident in a new study of the Top 25 LTL Carriers by SJ Consulting Group, Pittsburgh.
The 25 largest LTL carriers ranked by revenue increased sales to $28.83 billion last year, but were still about $870 million short of the $29.7 billion in revenue they enjoyed in 2008, the study found.
The Top 25 list underscores the difficulty LTL truckers have had recovering from a disastrous recession and severe price war in 2009, when the LTL industry lost 31.6 percent of its revenue.
The companies on the Top 25 list have increased revenue 27.7 percent since 2009, according to SJ Consulting. Total LTL industry revenue climbed 4.3 percent to $32 billion last year.
The slowdown in 2012 was widespread. Only one LTL carrier on the top 25 list increased revenue at a faster pace than in 2011, Virginia-based Wilson Trucking, which grew 9.8 percent.
The fastest growing LTL truckers of 2011, Old Dominion Freight Line and Dayton Freight Line, set the pace last year, too, but slowed their expansion from 25.7 and 24.9 percent to 12.1 and 10 percent.
The Top 25 LTL Carriers list and a report analyzing its findings will be available in the March 18 issue of The Journal of Commerce and on www.joc.com.