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Despite lingering supply chain disruptions and an extremely tight labor market, most of the largest for-hire motor carriers in North America achieved significant revenue gains and higher profits last year, powered by surging freight demand as the economy rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic.
That time of extraordinary business growth is clearly reflected on the 2022 edition of Transport Topics’ Top 100 For-Hire Carriers list. The overwhelming majority of companies ranked on this year’s list reported year-over-year revenue increases in 2021, including record results for many large fleets.
At the same time, trucking companies across the industry were able to increase driver compensation to help bolster their recruiting and retention efforts.
But with that banner year now in the rearview mirror, carriers are facing some additional headwinds in 2022. In addition to persistent supply chain constraints, high inflation has contributed to economic uncertainty and diesel prices have skyrocketed amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But after successfully navigating the disruptions of the past two years, the carriers that appear on this Top 100 list already have demonstrated their ability to adapt to challenges and keep their customers’ freight moving.
It comes as no surprise that package delivery titans UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. easily retained the top two positions on this year’s list, with both reporting strong revenue growth as demand for package delivery continued to climb.
Less-than-truckload carrier XPO Logistics held onto its No. 3 ranking despite spinning off its contract logistics business in 2021. The company also plans to split off its freight brokerage operations as another independent company later this year.
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The remainder of the top five also is unchanged, with intermodal and trucking company J.B. Hunt Transport Services checking in at No. 4 and Canadian trucking conglomerate TFI International at No. 5. TFI greatly expanded its LTL operations through its purchase of UPS’s Freight division in April 2021.
One company that made a significant move up the list was Landstar System, which climbed three spots to land at No. 6. Landstar, which reported 58% revenue growth in 2021, operates through its network of independent owner-operators and freight brokerage agents.
Meanwhile, mergers and acquisitions continued to alter the transportation industry’s competitive landscape.
Regional e-commerce parcel carriers LaserShip and OnTrac announced in October 2021 that they would merge to create a nationwide last-mile delivery service for online retailers and other shippers. The combined company, which now ranks No. 27 on the Top 100, is establishing a coast-to-coast final-mile delivery network by linking LaserShip’s eastern U.S. operations with OnTrac’s western U.S. footprint. LaserShip and OnTrac ranked Nos. 50 and 47, respectively, on last year’s list.
In another major deal, railroad operator CSX Corp. completed its acquisition of liquid bulk chemical transporter Quality Carriers in July 2021. Quality Carriers, which ranks No. 51 on the Top 100, remains headquartered in Tampa, Fla., and operates as a stand-alone business within CSX. The bulk carrier said it now offers customers a wider range of shipping options through a combination of rail and truck transportation networks.
A notable departure from this year’s Top 100 is Waco, Texas-based LTL carrier Central Freight Lines, which shut down late last year after nearly a century in business. The company ranked No. 98 a year ago.
A new name on the list is No. 74 Quantix Supply Chain Solutions. The dry bulk and liquid chemical carrier, previously known as A&R Logistics, rebranded as Quantix in September 2021. The company, based in The Woodlands, Texas, ranked No. 87 on last year’s list.
Ten new companies joined the Top 100 this year, led by No. 83 Dependable Supply Chain Services, a Los Angeles-based provider of LTL and truckload transportation and warehousing and logistics services.
Other additions to the list include No. 88 Leonard’s Express, No. 89 Western Flyer Express, No. 91 Beemac Trucking, No. 92 New Legend Inc., No. 94 Oak Harbor Freight Lines, No. 95 Transervice Logistics, No. 96 Artur Express, No. 97 Paschall Truck Lines and No. 100 Paper Transport Inc.
The Transport Topics Top 100 list and industry sector lists presented in this publication rank the largest for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada based on 2021 revenue.
Most of the information is from companies’ responses to an annual survey conducted by Transport Topics, along with data from financial reports and other public sources. SJ Consulting Group provided revenue estimates for some companies that did not report data. The lists also include some information compiled by legal services firm Culhane Meadows.
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