JOC: Top Trucking Firms Expand Market Share

March 12, 2012: Market share of 10 biggest LTL truckers rose from 68 to 73 percent.

The biggest less-than-truckload carriers got bigger in 2011, with the number of LTL companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue climbing to 10.

Regional carrier Saia joined the LTL “billion-dollar club,” increasing sales 14.1 percent in 2011 to $1.03 billion, according to a study by SJ Consulting Group.

The 10 largest LTL carriers increased their revenue 17 percent in 2011 to $22.2 billion, while the total LTL market expanded 11.6 percent to $30.6 billion.

Cumulatively, the revenue of those 10 trucking companies represented 73 percent of the total LTL market last year, compared with 68 percent in 2010.

Last year, the billion-dollar 10 accounted for 81 percent of the revenue of the Top 25 LTL carriers ranked by SJ Consulting Group for The Journal of Commerce.

That growth underscored the increasing strength of the recovery among the top LTL carriers since 2009, when LTL revenue dropped 25 percent in one year.

However, the LTL carriers were still 8.1 percent short of the $33.3 billion in revenue reported for the LTL industry in 2008, according to SJ Consulting Group data.

The fastest growing carrier in the group was Old Dominion Freight Line, which increased LTL sales 25.7 percent in 2011 to $1.7 billion, the study reports.

With $4.7 billion in revenue, FedEx Freight was the largest LTL carrier, followed by Con-way Freight and YRC Freight, both with about $3.2 billion in revenue.

UPS Freight, at $2.3 billion, was the fourth largest LTL carrier, while ODFL moved up one spot on the list to No. 5, bumping ABF Freight System, with $1.7 billion.

Estes Express Lines was the largest privately owned carrier on the list, with $1.6 billion in revenue last year, according to SJ Consulting Group estimates.

Estes was followed by YRC Worldwide’s regional group of carriers, with a combined $1.5 billion in LTL sales, R+L Carriers, with $1.2 billion, and Saia.

The complete report on the top 25 LTL carriers will be published in the March 19 issue of The Journal of Commerce and be available to JOC members online.

By William B. Cassidy for The Journal of Commerce

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