Top 25 LTL Trucking Companies

Top 25 LTL Trucking Companies

In 2017, the 25 largest less-than-truckload carriers in the US increased their combined revenue 7.8 percent, as higher industrial production and disciplined pricing raised their topline. That sizable gain followed a flat year for LTL revenue in 2016 and a revenue drop of 0.5 percent in 2015, as freight demand tumbled in the latest slowdown in the long-running economic recovery.

The US economy grew at a faster rate in 2017, and strong industrial production helped create more pallets of goods to fill LTL terminals and trailers. The combined revenue of the 25 largest LTL carriers in the US reached a new record of $34.5 billion. Just two LTL carriers reported less revenue year over year in 2017, compared with 10 in 2016 and 12 in 2015.

Some of the fastest-growing LTL carriers, however, weren’t on the list. The smaller LTL and cartage companies that didn’t make the Top 25 grew faster as a group than their larger competitors, increasing combined revenue 8.5 percent to $3.2 billion. That revenue would make those small companies the fourth largest LTL carrier if they were one trucking company.

Key stories in LTL:

Top 25 LTL 2017: LTL carriers pave way to growth in challenging market

Top 25 LTL 2016: Lower fuel surcharges, soft demand squeeze revenue

Top 25 LTL 2015: Revenue up 9.1 percent for largest US LTL carriers

Top 25 LTL 2014: Revenue Growth at LTL Truckers Drops

Top 25 LTL 2013: Economic Slowdown Detours LTL Growth

Top 25 LTL 2012: LTL's Second Wind

Top 25 LTL 2011: LTL's Incomplete Recovery

J. Harwood Cochrane: Present at the Birth of Trucking

Special Coverage

25 largest US less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers
Compared with the freight boom of 2018, last year was disappointing for US less-than-truckload carriers, but pricing discipline allow the largest operators to maintain — and in some cases increase — their top line revenue.

News & Analysis

02 Apr 2020
US trucking companies are preparing to brake hard once the current surge of essential freight fades. The loss of demand and capacity will complicate the eventual recovery.
26 Mar 2020
Demand for essential goods and medical supplies is drawing truck capacity even as business shutdowns dry up other sources of freight, a trend that could result in displaced capacity.
25 Mar 2020
Truck drivers can both drive and work beyond regulatory limits if they’re hauling essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic, and shippers need to do whatever they can to make that easier.
18 Mar 2020
Truck capacity is being tightened in drive-thru-sized bites as restaurant and rest stop closings delay drivers.
16 Mar 2020
As COVID-19 response unfolds, restricted business operating hours, potential closures could complicate deliveries, solidifying a soft trucking market.
11 Mar 2020
Long-haul LTL carrier YRC Freight is expanding a next-day service offering in Texas, where its parent company previously had no regional footprint.
11 Mar 2020
Truck demand and spot rates are rising as consumers stockpile goods amid the spread of the coronavirus, but truckers worry about potential loss of work due to quarantines.
09 Mar 2020
Shippers with an eye on instability in US markets are considering innovative contract terms, including the use of volume guarantees and flexible rates.
05 Mar 2020
The coronavirus outbreak will amplify pricing and capacity swings in US trucking this year, and logistics experts warn that will mean a price shock for shippers.
04 Mar 2020
US business activity stumbled in February, according to IHS Markit, perhaps in part due to the new coronavirus disease. That put more pressure on less-than-truckload shipping volumes.
03 Mar 2020
The FMCSA is sending undisclosed changes to truck driver hours of service (HOS) rules to the White House for approval, raising hopes for greater flexibility in truck scheduling.
03 Mar 2020
XPO Logistics’ founder and CEO plans to use money from the sale of non-trucking business units to increase technology spending at its less-than-truckload (LTL) operations, with a focus on pricing.
18 Feb 2020
Truck tonnage increased for the second straight month in January, but a weak manufacturing sector and high inventories are keeping a lid on freight demand.
11 Feb 2020
XPO Logistics, Old Dominion Freight Line, and Saia are among LTL trucking companies that see encouraging, albeit modest and early, signs for economic growth in 2020.
10 Feb 2020
The third-largest US LTL operator commits to ongoing reorganization, and sees glimmers of recovery in US manufacturing activity and freight demand in early 2020.
07 Feb 2020
Roadrunner Freight is cutting transit times and investing in technology and facilities as it attempts to transform itself into a higher-service, customer-focused less-than-truckload carrier.
04 Feb 2020
Two regional LTL carriers say their new partnership will help increase domestic traffic and set up “international inland” moves in a six-state West Coast network.
03 Feb 2020
In a lackluster market, ArcBest’s ABF Freight finds it necessary to judiciously mix truckload spot and traditional LTL freight, asset-based, and non-asset services.
30 Jan 2020
As its US network gets faster and more automated and e-commerce demand keeps growing, UPS is taking aim at small to mid-sized businesses in 2020.
30 Jan 2020
Shippers, as much as carriers, are driving toward electronic or digital bills of lading, as the need for speed and more responsive, detailed customer service increases.
28 Jan 2020
Truck volumes have flattened, not collapsed, a trucking analyst tells SMC3’s Jumpstart 2020 Conference. Truck capacity hit its peak in Q4 2019, and is expected to contract this year.
28 Jan 2020
The bottom of the current slump in US freight demand is approaching, but new threats, including the China coronavirus, are emerging, speakers at the SMC3 Jumpstart 2020 conference warned.
24 Jan 2020
An increase in housing permits and starts will help rebuild US truck volumes this spring, putting increased demand on truck capacity and spot pricing, according to Bobby Holland, vice president and director of freight data solutions at US Bank.
22 Jan 2020
Indications that the US manufacturing sector is improving, rather than deteriorating, could point to more freight demand and truck shipments this spring, especially for LTL carriers.
16 Jan 2020
Expect the sale or spin-off of some business to make XPO more a “pure-play” LTL trucking company — smaller, but more focused on US shippers and better positioned to increase shareholder value.
10 Jan 2020
Trucking employment slipped in December as US manufacturing remained sluggish, but there are signs demand, and perhaps payrolls, may improve in 2020.
09 Jan 2020
Two technology firms are taking an ambitious step toward bringing shippers, trucking companies, and logistics providers together on one transportation management platform.
07 Jan 2020
The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement may speed the processing of goods at US borders, but won’t necessarily speed transportation at the congested Mexican border, experts warn. That will require further investment in infrastructure and technology.
06 Jan 2020
The electronic logging device (ELD) eventually will help shippers find trucks more quickly, help trucking companies better manage drivers, and help drivers better manage hours. But more integration of ELD data with other systems and more development are needed to deliver bigger benefits.
27 Dec 2019
Less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers maintained pricing discipline and focusing on their bottom lines in 2019, but the overall outlook for the sector in 2020 still depends largely on a flagging US manufacturing industry.
19 Dec 2019
The latest data from the American Trucking Associations shows large truckload carriers cutting drivers and smaller fleets ramping up hiring.
16 Dec 2019
Driven by consumers and end-customers, more shippers say they are looking for precision in on-time delivery from trucking suppliers, and placing it before price.
13 Dec 2019
Shippers may find capacity tighter on a carrier-by-carrier, lane-by-lane basis when the final phase of the ELD mandate takes effect Monday.
YRC reports double-digit drop in LTL tonnage
12 Dec 2019
A ‘freight volume headwind’ blew hard against YRC Worldwide in November, driving down tonnage at YRC Freight 10.2 percent year over year. December is looking better, the carrier says.
ODFL looks for added value in ELDs as final deadline looms
11 Dec 2019
The second-largest US LTL carrier has completed its AOBRD to ELD conversion, and now looks to expand the integration of its ELDs with other technologies, including geofencing.
06 Dec 2019
IHS Markit points to a “modest upturn” in the US economy, with consumer demand keeping freight in motion.

Commentary

The electronic logging device means big data analysis is possible across the trucking/logistics sphere — and that opens up a world of opportunities for improved efficiency, fleet optimization, and more.

More Commentary