FedEx Freight still a regional LTL: CEO

FedEx Freight still a regional LTL: CEO

WASHINGTON - FedEx Freight may look like a long-haul trucking company, but don't say that to Douglas Duncan, the company's president and chief executive.

He characterizes the trucking arm of FedEx Corp. as a regional less-than-truckload provider even though its service area blankets the U.S., and even parts of Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

"Most people think of a regional trucking company as one that hasn't grown up to be national," Duncan joked during an appearance July 11 at the National Press Club.

FedEx Freight's regional identity stems from its dedication to the time-sensitive next-day and second-day delivery service. About 90 percent of the company's business falls into this category, the result of increasing demand for "just in time" shipments.

Duncan declined to speak at length about the merger of LTL carriers Yellow Corp.-Roadway Corp. The deal raised eyebrows in the trucking industry because of the two carriers' disparate cultures and their intent to operate the two companies separately.

Duncan said it's unlikely the merger would affect how FedEx Freight runs its business or influence its pricing. "I don't set my price based on what the competition is...our focus is to understand this fast-cycle logistics," that's driving the express trucking sector. Duncan said the company's pricing is based instead on its own costs.

Duncan also took issue with some of the new government rules aimed at tightening supply-chain security. For example, the federal government won't release complete information to employers about criminal activity of potential drivers, nor will it give access to driver safety violation records.

Looking ahead, Duncan said he doesn't foresee a substantial pickup in the economy for the rest of the year. The industrial or retail sectors are still soft, an indication that these shippers don't have either the resources or the desire to make new capital investments that would kick-start the economy.