LTL Industry Shrinks 24.4 Percent

LTL Industry Shrinks 24.4 Percent

The less-than-truckload industry shrank 24.4 percent in 2009, as total U.S. LTL revenue plunged from $33.3 billion to $25.2 billion, according to an industry study.

The recession triggered by the 2008 global financial crisis spurred the worst decline in freight revenue in several years, the study by SJ Consulting Group revealed.

The LTL industry contracted less than 1 percent in 2008 and was basically flat in 2007 compared with 2006, despite a freight downturn in those years, according to the study.

Over the past three years, the LTL industry lost a quarter of the $33.7 billion revenue it had in 2006, the study shows, with most of that loss occurring in 2009.

The SJ Consulting survey ranks the top 25 LTL trucking companies by revenue. All the companies saw revenue drop by double-digit percentages, ranging from 10 to 47 percent.

At most companies, the study only measured revenue from LTL operations, though in some cases revenue from truckload and other services were included.

The best year-over-year result came from New England Motor Freight, where LTL revenue dropped 10.1 percent from the previous year.

Waco, Texas-based Central Freight Lines fared worst, with a 47.3 percent drop in revenue. The carrier lost a major account and consolidated its network, SJ Consulting Group said.
The study reported YRC Worldwide’s national and regional operations separately.

LTL revenue at YRC National, the former Yellow and Roadway operations that were integrated last March, fell 44.3 percent, according to SJ Consulting. Revenue at YRC Regional, which includes New Penn, Holland and Reddaway, declined decline 32.4 percent.

YRC Worldwide’s combined LTL revenue shrank 41.4 percent, the study said.

FedEx Freight’s LTL revenue fell 20.8 percent and Con-way Freight’s sales were down 14.6 percent, year-over-year, SJ Consulting found.

Contact William B. Cassidy at