A quick glance at AJOT’s Top 100 North American Trucking Companies isn’t very revealing, it looks much the same as it did before COVID. The top twenty or so may shift a place here or there but overall, the structure remains very similar to the industry’s pre-COVID composition. But as the old expression suggestions, looks can be deceiving. A restructuring of the trucking industry in North America is underway and while the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent dam-burst of unleased freight may not directly be the causal reason for the quiet upheaval in the structure of the industry, the pandemic’s multi-layered impacts were certainly an accelerant.

2023 Top 100 Trucking Companies
Click to download AJOT's 2023 Top 100 Trucking Companies A-Z in PDF from page 5 of Issue #749

A Different Kind of Consolidation Composition

In many respects, the trucking industry, especially the traditional LTL, TL (Less-Truck-Load and Truck Load) dry van business and drayage [carriage of ocean containers] sector were overdue for restructuring. There were a large number (and still are) of privately-owned “mom and pop” shops. A cursory reading of many of the histories of the trucking firms (on the list) begins with the purchase of a single secondhand truck. And in the early days of operation “management” was more often than not seated behind the wheel. Even now privately owned trucking firms still dominate trucking industry ownership. Many companies are multi-generational in management and ownership. And with relatively low entry costs, there are a lot of small and medium sized trucking companies in the industry.

The industry is consolidating with M&As (mergers and acquisitions) coming at a regular clip. That’s nothing new. Many of the big names in the trucking business were built through M&A. Trucking companies like (5) Knight-Swift, (6) YRC Worldwide, (14) ABF, (16) Penske have all made significant acquisitions along the way.

Even as this article was being written, Randolph, MA-based RoadOne Intermodal (25) announced the acquisition of The Transporter, Inc., a regional intermodal carrier operating in the Southwest, a region in which the Randolph, Massachusetts-based carrier is expanding.

As the RoadOne move illustrates, acquisitions have long been a way to increase geographic coverage and facilities, to add wheels and drivers and some cases specialized services like temperature-controlled transport or even drayage.

However, more recently the reason behind the M&A fueled consolidation in the trucking industry could be the interest from institutional investors. Equity capital was taking a strong interest in the supply chain companies, even before COVID. The pandemic and other disruptions to the supply chain pointed out just how critical supply chain providers are to the economy…and potentially how profitable the supply chain can be as an investment. And it can be argued trucking touches more parts of the supply chain than any other service provider. Also, trucking is one of the least “consolidated” segments of the supply chain when compared to other service segments like ocean, air, or rail services. In the case of both rail and ocean, the price of entry to these closely held markets is very high and returns relatively low.

It’s not surprising to read Ridgemont Equity Partners, a private equity firm, recently announced the recapitalization of RoadOne, alongside RoadOne’s co-founders and Nonantum Capital Partners. It’s an influx of capital to help further the carrier’s growth.

There is also a fair amount of shuffling of the deck. For example, Montreal-based TFI International (10) sold their subsidiary CFI’s Truckload, Temperature-Control and Mexican non-asset based logistics business to Heartland Express (37) for $525 million. The logic of the transaction was TFI wanted to concentrate on their U.S. operations, especially on higher return LTL. Heartland, on the other hand, will add assets and build its truckload business.

There have been quite a few strategic moves made in the last year. For example, back in February of 2022, Hirschbach Motor Line (78) bought John Christner building a reefer conglomerate that reportedly will amount to over 3,000 trucks and 5,000 trailers. In June, Fastfrate (58) made a deal to purchase a majority stake in Challenger Motor Freight, one of Canada’s largest carriers. Under the agreement Challenger will still operate independently – there was little overlap between the two trucking companies – but the consolidation creates another mega-carrier.

But some of the more interesting M&A activity didn’t involve acquisitions by other trucking companies. Maersk, the world’s second largest ocean carrier, acquired Los Angeles-based Performance Team (51). For old time analysts it was a curious move as a couple of decades ago, containership operators got out of the trucking business to concentrate on their core business of ocean shipping. And the Maersk acquisition wasn’t the only oddity. DB Schenker, one of the world’s largest 3PLs, acquired USA Truck (18).

Will these acquisitions be the beginning of a trend – an entirely new road for the trucking industry? In the coming decade, will the North American trucking industry be restructured? Maybe as investment in the supply chain is clearly attractive now and trucking is the key link in the chain.

AJOT's Top 100 North American Trucking Companies

RankCarrierHome OfficePublic/PrivateService NotesWebsite
1UPS Inc.Atlanta, GANYSE-UPSIntegratorwww.ups.com
2FedEx Corp.Memphis, TNNYSE-FDXIntegratorwww.fedex.com
3XPO LogisticsGreenwich, CTNYSE-XPO3PLwww.xpo.com
4J.B. Hunt TransportLowell, ARNASDAQ-JBHTIntermodalwww.jbhunt.com
5Knight-Swift TransportPhoenix, AZNYSE-KNXTL/LTLwww.knight-swift.com
6YRC WorldwideOverland Park, KSNASDAQ-YRCWTL/LTLwww.yrc.com
7SchneiderGreenbay, WINYSE-SNDR3PL/TL/LTLwww.schneider.com
8Landstar SystemJacksonville, FLNASDAQ-LSTR3PL/TL/LTLwww.landstar.com
9Old Dominion Freight LineThomasville, NCNASDAQ-ODFLTL/LTLwww.odfl.com
10TFI InternationalMontreal, QC, CATSX-TFITL/LTLwww.tfiintl.com
11Ryder Supply Chain SolutionsMiami, FLNYSE-R3PLwww.ryder.com
12Hub GroupOakbrook, ILNASDAQ-HUBGIntermodalwww.hubgroup.com
13Estes Express LinesRichmond, VAPrivateTL/LTLwww.estes-express.com
14ArcBest [ABF Freight Systems]Fort Smith, ARNASDAQ-ARCB3PL: TL/LTL/Epeditedwww.arcb.com
15Werner EnterprisesOmaha, NENASDAQ-WERN3PLwww.werner.com
16Penske Logistics [Penske Truck Leasing]Reading, PANYSE-PAG3PLwww.penske.com
17Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc.Downers Grove, ILNYSE-RRTSTL/LTLwww.shiproadrunnerfreight.com
18USA TruckVan Buren, ARSubsidiary/SchenkersTL/Intermodal/Draywww.usa-truck.com
19NFICamden, NJPrivateTLwww.nfiindustries.com
20U.S. Xpress EnterprisesChattanooga, TNNYSE-USXTL/Expeditedwww.usxpress.com
21R+L CarriersWilmington, OHPrivateLTL/TL/Expeditedwww.rlcarriers.com
22CRST InternationalCedar Rapids, IAPrivateTL/Expeditedwww.crst.com
23SaiaJohns Creek, GANASDAQ-SAIATL/LTL/Expeditedwww.saia.com
24C.R. England Inc.Salt Lake City, UTPrivateTL/Intermodalwww.crengland.com
25RoadOne Intermodal LogisticsRandolph, MAPrivateTL/LTL/DRAYwww.roadone.com
26Universal Logistics HoldingsWarren, MINASDAQ-ULH3PLwww.universallogistics.com
27Forward Air Corp.Greenville, TNNASDAQ-FWRDTL/LTL/Expeditedwww.forwardair.com
28Southeastern Freight LinesLexington, SCPrivateLTLwww.sefl.com
29Averitt ExpressCookeville, TNPrivateTL/LTLwww.averitt.com
30Evans Delivery Co.Schuylkill Haven, PAPrivateTL/LTLwww.evansdelivery.com
31Crete Carrier Corp.Lincoln, NBPrivateTLwww.cretecarrier.com
32PurolatorMississauga, ONPrivate/Canada Post 91%Integratorwww.purolator.com
33Lynden Inc.Anchorage, AKPrivateTL/LTLwww.lynden.com
34Midwest Motor ExpressBismarck, NDSubsidiary/Knight-SwiftLTLwww.mmeinc.com
35KLLM Transport ServicesJackson, MSPrivateTL/LTLwww.kllm.com
36RuanDes Moines, IAPrivateTLwww.ruan.com
37Heartland Express Inc.North Liberty, IANASDAQ-HTLDTLwww.heartlandexpress.com
38Alliance ShippersEnglewood Cliffs, NJPrivate3PLwww.alliance.com
39Covenant Transport ServicesChattanooga, TNNASDAQ-CVTITL/Expeditedwww.covenantlogistics.com
40Pitt Ohio Transportation GroupPittsburgh, PAPrivate/Hammel CompaniesTL/LTL/Expeditedwww.pittohio.com
41Central Transport International [CenTra]Warren, MIPrivateLTLwww.centraltransport.com
42Day & Ross Transportation GroupHartland, NB, CASubsidiary/McCain Foods LtdTL/LTLwww.dayross.com
43Cardinal LogisticsConcord, NCPrivate/H.I.G. CapitalTL/LTLwww.cardinal-logistics.com
44Marten Transport Ltd.Mondovi, WINASDAQ-MRTNTL/Intermodal/DRAYwww.marten.com
45Stevens TransportDallas, TXPrivateTCL/Intermodalwww.stevenstransport.com
46Western ExpressNashville, TNPrivateTL/Intermodal/DRAYwww.westernexp.com
47TeamOne LogisticsAlpharetta, GAPrivateLTLwww.teamonelogistics.com
48Mullen GroupOkotoks, AB, CATSX-MTLTL/LTLwww.mullen-group.com
49Dayton Freight LinesDayton, OHPrivateTL/LTLwww.daytonfreight.com
50Roehl TransportMarshfield, WIPrivateTLwww.roehllogistics.com
51Performance TeamLos Angeles, CAPrivate/Maersk3PLwww.performanceteam.net
52OnTrac Inc.Chandler, AZPrivateParcel Deliverywww.ontrac.com
53Bison TransportWinnipeg, MB, CAPrivate/Subsidiary/JRSLTL/LTLwww.bisontransport.com
54Cowan SystemsBaltimore, MDPrivateTLwww.cowansystems.com
55PAM TransportTontitown, ARNASDAQ-PTSITL/Intermodal/DRAYwww.pamtransport.com
56Canada CartageMississauga, ON CAPrivate/Subsidiary/Mubadala CapitalTL/Intermodal/DRAYwww.canadacartage.com
57Dart Transit CompanyEgan, MNPrivateTL/Intermodalwww.dart.net
58Fastfrate GroupWoodbridge, ON, CAPrivate/Tepper HoldingsDray/LTL/TLwww.fastfrate.com
59NRS (National Retail Systems)North Bergen, NJPrivate/IDT3PL/TL/DRAYwww.nrs3pl.com
60A. Duie Pyle Inc.West Chester, PAPrivateTL/LTLwww.aduiepyle.com
61Bridgeway Connects [American Transport]Pittsburgh, PAPrivate/Gemspring CapitalTL/LTLwww.bridgewayconnects.com
62Mesilla Valley TransportationLas Cruces, NMPrivateTLwww.m-v-t.com
63IMC CompaniesCollierville, TNPrivateIntermodal/DRAYwww.imcc.com
64TransAm Trucking IncOlathe, KSPrivateTCLwww.transamtruck.com
65ContainerPort GroupCleveland, OHPrivate/World ShippingTL/Intermodal/DRAYwww.containerport.com
66Dependable Supply Chain ServicesLos Angeles, CAPrivate3PL/LTL/FTLwww.godependable.com
67Martin Transportation SystemsByron Center, MIPrivateTLwww.mtstrans.com
68JP ExpressDeer Park, NYPrivateLTLwww.myjpexpress.com
69Daylight TransportLong Beach, CAPrivateLTL/Expedited/Long Haulwww.dylt.com
70TGR LogisticsPortland, ORPrivateLTL/TL/Epeditedwww.tgrlogistics.com
71Oak Harbor Freight LinesAuburn, WAPrivateLTLwww.oakh.com
72Wilson LogisticsSpringfield, MOPrivateTLwww.wilsonlogistics.com
73Sterling TransportationLos Angeles, CAPrivateExpedited Freight CA-FLwww.sterlingtransportation.com
74Duncan and Sons LinesPhoenix, AZPrivateDray/Container Haulagewww.duncanandson.com
75Raven TransportJacksonville, FLPrivateTL/Intermodalwww.raventransport.com
76RJR TransportationEl Paso, ILPrivateTLwww.rjrtransportation.net
77S&S Transport Inc.Grand Forks, NDPrivateTLwww.sstransport.com
78Hirschbach Motor LinesDubuque, IAPrivateTL/LTL/TCLwww.hirschbach.com
79Horizon Freight LinesCleveland, OHPrivateIntermodalwww.horizonfreightsystem.com
80Paper TransportDe Pere, WIPrivate/ Equity Group InvestmentsTL/Intermodalwww.papertransport.com
81Nussbaum Transportation ServicesHudson, ILEmployee OwnedTLwww.nussbaum.com
82Halvor LinesSuperior, WIPrivateTL/LTLwww.halvorlines.com
83McFarland Truck Lines, IncAustin, MNPrivateTLwww.mcfgtl.com
84Highlight Motor GroupToronto, ON, CAPrivateLTL/Cross Borderwww.highlightmotor.com
85Saddle Creek Logistic ServicesLakeland, FLPrivate3PLwww.sclogistics.com
86Prime IncSpringfield, MOPrivateTL/Intermodalwww.primeinc.com
87Salgado Family Trucking Inc.Adelanto, CAPrivate /Bell Rose CapitalLTL/TL/Draywww.salgadofamilytrucking.com
88R&R ExpressPittsburgh, PAPrivateLTL/TLwww.shiprrexp.com
89GLS-USAmsterdam, NLInternational Distribution Services PLCTL/Parcelwww.gls-us.com
90Continental Expedited ServicesClarksville, TNPrivateExpedited Freightwww.continentalexpedited.com
91Lily Transportation Corp.Needham, MAPrivateDedicated Logisticswww.lily.com
92McLeod ExpressDecatur, ILPrivateLTLwww.mcleodexpress.com
93M&W Transportation [M&W Logistics]Nashville, TNPrivate3PLwww.mwlginc.com
94Anderson Trucking Service (ATS)St. Cloud, MNPrivateLTL/Intermodalwww.atsinc.com
95Ward Transport & Logistics Corp.Altoona, PAPrivateLTLwww.wardtlc.com
96Koch TruckingMinneapolis, MNPrivateLTL/FTL/Draywww.kochtrucking.us
97Quality DistributionSalt Lake City, UTPrivate/North Point DevelopmentLTl/TLwww.qdislc.com
98Paschall Truck LinesMurray, KYEmployee OwnedTL/Expeditedwww.ptl-inc.com
99Armstrong Transport GroupCharlotte, NCPrivateLTLwww.armstrongtransport.com
100Givens Transportation Inc.Chesapeake, VAPrivateTL/LTL/Dray/Intermodalwww.givensts.com