ABF: next-day soon

ABF: next-day soon

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

ABF Freight System, the nation''s third-largest stand-alone LTL carrier, is following Yellow Transportation''s foray into next-day regional service.

"We have been looking at getting into the next-day business, perhaps slowly in one region," said Robert A. Young III, president and CEO of parent Arkansas Best Corp. "It could be in ''04."

ABF has been working with the Teamsters union to obtain a change of operations to allow for new "premium service" employees. Yellow recently obtained a similar go-ahead from the IBT.

"We haven''t gotten that done yet," Young said in a conference call last week.

Young would not identify in which region ABF would start its next-day lanes. Recently USF closed its Red Star operation in the Northeast, which would seem a prime candidate for such lanes.

"We''re doing some next-day service in some major metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles basin and in the Northeast," Young said. "We can do more when we get the change (of operations)," Young said. "Once we get a pattern going, it will go fast."

Arkansas Best also is mulling an acquisition, although Young would not identify in which sector that could be.

"We feel anything we get into as far as acquisition should play off strength of ABF''s nationwide franchise," Young said. "That''s the core of our thinking."