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June 24, 2019 8:00 AM, EDT

Refrigerated, Flatbed Carriers See Surge in Business in 2018

A Landstar flatbed truck hauling a tractor TT File Photo

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Refrigerated carriers posted uneven results in 2018 with several firms generating double-digit gains and others seeing a drop in revenue.

A group of 32 carriers generated revenue of $9.7 billion in 2018, up 12.5% from $8.7 billion in 2017.

Sector leaders Prime Inc. and C.R. England Inc. each enjoyed robust growth, while Hirschbach Motor Lines and John Christner Trucking each had monster gains.

KLLM Transport Services, Marten Transport and Southern Refrigerated Transport were among the carriers who saw revenue decline, although No. 3-ranked KLLM has since moved to bolster its market share with the purchase of the refrigerated division of Maverick USA, which ranks No. 31, based on results in 2018.

Flatbed and heavy specialized carriers saw another surge in business with both large and small operators posting big gains in revenue.

A group of 31 carriers generated revenue of $8.8 billion in 2018, a 18.9% increase from $7.4 billion in 2017.

For mail carriers, consolidation is the name of the game as the U.S. Postal Service looks to trim the number of contractors with which it does business.

Altogether, a group of the 32 largest postal contractors generated revenue of $4.6 billion during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2018, a gain of 12.5% from $4.1 billion in the prior year.