Cutting ‘Legacy’ Tariffs at YRC

YRC Worldwide eliminated another legacy of its former Roadway and Yellow subsidiaries — their tariffs. The company this month quietly switched shippers still using the old Roadway and Yellow base rate tariffs to YRC’s base pricing book.

That’s right — some shippers were still using tariffs published by Roadway and Yellow Transportation, while others used a base rate tariff their successor company, YRC, created after the two competing long-haul networks were merged.

It’s a change in name only, YRC said in a brief note on its Web site, stressing the switch won’t affect any current shipper rates or discounts. But names, and the image they project, are important to YRC as it rebuilds under new management.

New YRC Worldwide CEO James Welch and YRC president Jeff Rogers are working to streamline nationwide less-than-truckload carrier YRC, and that includes cutting unneeded vestiges of Roadway and Yellow that survived the 2009 merger.

Rogers is stripping away layers of management and consolidating sales and operations in an attempt to steer the $2.9 billion LTL carrier back to profitability. The company reported a $14.3 million operating loss in the third quarter.

The legacy tariffs were an easy cut for YRC to make. Continued use of base rate tariffs published by carriers that were merged almost three years ago doesn’t jibe with efforts to re-energize YRC and re-orient the carrier in the LTL market.

“I’m not trying to make this back into Yellow,” Welch said when he rejoined YRC Worldwide as CEO in July. “I’m approaching it as a new company.” Replacing three tariffs with one also fits with Rogers’ professed goal of “keeping things simple.”

“YRC has overcomplicated things for many, many years,” Rogers said after being named president in September. “We just need to simplify, focus and then execute.”

Switching to the YRC tariff also extends the carrier’s no-fee, standard LTL service guarantee to “all current rate customers” — a step many shippers will be surprised wasn’t taken years ago (some may not have known they weren’t covered).

The biggest challenge Welch and Rogers face may be changing how shippers think about YRC, rooting out perceptions formed in the legacy days of Yellow and Roadway and the tumultuous efforts to save the company from bankruptcy.

Bringing base pricing under one tariff is a small step toward that goal, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wbcassidy_joc

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