June 24, 2019 8:00 AM, EDT

LTL, Parcel Fleets Grow, but Outlook Mixed in Other Sectors

FedEx trucksJohn Sommers II for Transport Topics

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Revenue gains for less-than-truckload carriers were solid in 2018, with momentum coming from increased manufacturing activity and retail sales, along with the loss of competition in some markets due to the shutdown of New England Motor Freight.

A group of 44 carriers generated revenue of $41.8 billion last year, an increase of 9.7% from $38.1 billion in 2017.

FedEx Freight continues to lead the sector, followed by YRC Freight and Old Dominion Freight Line, which pushed ahead of XPO Logistics to claim the No. 3 spot on the list.

Carriers in the package and courier sector are few in number and compete in a segment dominated by UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp.

A group of 10 carriers generated revenue of $118.4 billion in 2018, a gain of 5.1% from $112.7 billion in 2017.

TFI International slides from No. 4 to No. 5 on the list, but only because the company chose to separate final-mile services from its package delivery business with the result being lower revenue for its package and courier division.

In the air/expedited sector, there are signs of a slowdown, but also the emergence of a new leader.

Forward Air Corp. tops the field this year, followed by Active Aero Group (a unit of Roadrunner Transportation Systems), XPO Logistics and ArcBest Corp.’s Panther division.

After several years of double-­­digit percentage growth in revenue, a group of 10 carriers generated revenue of $2.23 billion in 2018, an increase of just 3.2% from $2.16 billion in 2017.

Household goods movers also got little reprieve from a market that has seen a reduction in the number of consumer and commercial relocations in recent years.

A group of eight carriers generated revenue of $4.71 billion in 2018, an increase of less than 1%, compared with $4.68 billion in 2017.

Another sector experiencing difficult market conditions is the motor vehicle/driveaway business.

A group of six carriers generated revenue of $1.93 billion in 2018 compared with $1.94 billion in 2017.

United Road Services solidified its position as the largest carhauler in North America with its acquisition of Colorado-based Fleet Car Carriers, while Jack Cooper Holdings added Selland Auto Transport to shore up its business, which saw revenue fall 3.6% in 2018.