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July 10, 2017 10:00 AM, EDT

Editorial: The New Top 100

The time has arrived for our annual, in-depth look at the largest trucking companies in North America.

After many weeks of compiling data collected directly from fleets and from a number of other sources, we’re pleased to present the 2017 edition of our Top 100 For-Hire Carriers list, which is included in the July 10 print edition of Transport Topics.

This expansive reference tool gives you an up-to-date view of where your fleet — or your competitors — stack up against the industry’s biggest players.

LIVEONWEB: July 12 program examines list

In addition to the main Top 100 list, the publication also includes expanded sector lists to provide greater insight into the top companies in specific trucking applications, from dry van to refrigerated and flatbed to bulk.

At first glance, the top of this year’s TT100 appears largely unchanged from a year ago, but the race for the No. 1 position is much closer. While UPS Inc. maintained its grip on the top spot, FedEx Corp. moved within striking distance, primarily through its acquisition of TNT Express.

Another big announcement — the planned merger of Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation — hadn’t closed by the publication of this year’s TT100, but that deal is on track to shake up the 2018 rankings.

For the first time, the 2017 TT100 makes use of revenue estimates for several large fleets that hadn’t been included on the list before, making this year’s rankings the most comprehensive ever.

And beyond the lists themselves, this publication also features analysis of the key trends poised to shape the trucking business over the next year and beyond.

Executives at many large fleets expressed optimism that stronger economic growth could be on the horizon, bringing with it an increase in freight demand.

But the trucking industry continues to struggle with a shortage of qualified drivers that is constraining fleets’ ability to add the hauling capacity needed to move that freight.

Capacity will likely tighten further after the arrival of the Dec. 18 compliance deadline for the federal mandate of electronic logging devices, with its expected tougher enforcement of driver hours-of-service limits across the industry.

Given these limitations, the services of safe, compliant, reliable carriers will be in high demand among shippers in the months ahead. Opportunity knocks for fleets that are up to the challenge.

As your company charts its course through these interesting times, it’s our hope that you’ll keep this publication at your side to serve as a handy reference throughout the year.