Industry Sector Rankings Reflect Market Downturn

Majority of For-Hire Carriers Across Many Industry Segments Posted Lower Revenues in 2023
TFI International truck
TFI International is one of many motor carriers to appear on multiple sector rankings in Transport Topics' 2024 Top 100 For-Hire Carriers publication. (TForce Freight)

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For-hire carriers operating across many segments of the trucking industry experienced declining revenues in 2023, but some industry sectors fared better than others.


For the most part, North America’s largest truckload and dedicated contract carriers saw their revenues and profit margins diminish last year as freight market conditions remained unfavorable.

American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage index, which is based predominantly on for-hire contract freight, fell 1.7% in 2023, marking the worst year for the reading since 2020, when businesses closed their doors and social distancing guidelines went into effect during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, a persistent overabundance of freight hauling capacity has continued to hold down freight rates.

The overwhelming majority of truckload and dedicated carriers reported declining revenues last year. Among those that did manage to expand their businesses in 2023, that growth was often driven by acquisitions.

Knight Transportation truck

Knight-Swift Transportation again ranks atop the Truckload/Dedicated sector list. (Knight-Swift Transportation)

Knight-Swift Transportation, which once again retains its position as North America’s largest truckload carrier, grew revenue 3.7% to nearly $4.7 billion last year. In July 2023, the company announced the closing of its acquisition of U.S. Xpress Enter­prises, which stood at No. 8 on this sector list a year ago.

Heartland Express moved up two positions to No. 11 in the truckload/dedicated segment with 2023 revenue of $1.2 billion, up nearly 25% from the prior year. Heartland expanded its business through its acquisitions of Smith Transport and CFI in 2022.

More recently, Ryder System closed its acquisition of Cardinal Logistics in February. That purchase bolstered Ryder’s already-large dedicated transportation business, which rises to No. 5 on the updated sector list.

 Seth Clevenger


The less-than-truckload ­segment ex­perienced a major shakeup in 2023 when one of its biggest players, Yellow Corp., closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy last ­summer.

The departure of Yellow, which ranked third on the LTL sector list a year ago, shifted the competitive landscape in this portion of the trucking industry.

Some of Yellow’s former rivals, including XPO, Estes Express and Saia Inc., have since acquired and have begun reopening some of the company’s shuttered terminals.

In general, LTL carriers fared better in 2023 than their counterparts in the truckload segment, but financial results were still mixed.

The LTL sector list is about ­evenly split between LTL carriers that managed to continue growing their businesses last year and those that posted lower revenues in a soft freight market.

FedEx Freight continues to top the LTL list with more than $9 billion in revenue despite a 10.6% decline from a year earlier.

Old Dominion Freight Line once again ranks No. 2 on the sector list, followed by XPO, Estes Express Lines and R+L Carriers rounding out the top five.

 Seth Clevenger


Like most other segments of the trucking industry, intermodal and drayage carriers largely experienced downturns in their businesses last year amid challenging freight market conditions.

Among the 20 companies on this year’s sector list with available data for both 2022 and 2023, all but two posted year-over-year revenue declines.

The top five carriers in this segment remained unchanged from a year ago, with J.B. Hunt Intermodal leading the way with $6.2 billion in revenue, down more than 11% from 2022.

The decline was even more pronounced at Hub Group, which saw its revenue drop nearly 25% to just under $2.5 billion.

The remainder of the top five — Evans Delivery, Schneider and IMC Cos., — also generated less revenue last year.

Bay and Bay Transportation tractors

Bay and Bay Transportation joins the Intermodal/Drayage sector list with $11 million in 2023 revenue. (Bay and Bay Transportation)

This year’s sector list features three newcomers: Massachusetts-based RoadOne IntermodaLogistics debuts at No. 5; Supra National Express, a diversified carrier based in California, joins at No. 20; and the asset-based intermodal services of Minnesota’s Bay and Bay Transportation put it at No. 23 on the list.

 Mike Senatore

Motor Vehicle/Driveaway

The top three motor vehicle carriers were unchanged on this year’s list, with United Road Services remaining No. 1 in the sector with an estimated $736 million in revenue.

Proficient Auto Transport joins the list at No. 4 after its parent company made multiple acquisitions leading to an initial public offering in May.

 Mike Senatore


Bulk carriers largely faced difficulties in 2023. Kenan Advantage Group continues to lead this sector by a wide margin with $2.4 billion in revenue, but that figure was down 3% from the prior year.

Kenan Advantage Group tank truck

Kenan maintained its No. 1 ranking on the Tank/Bulk list. (Kenan Advantage Group)

A few bulk carriers were able to grow their businesses, however. McCoy Group divisions Food­liner and Quest Liner, for example, increased their revenue by 27.4% last year and moved to No. 4 on the sector list.

 Mike Senatore


In the air/expedited sector, Forward Air, Covenant and ArcBest retained their positions in the top three despite revenue declines of 12.9%, 6.4% and 26.9%, respectively.

 Mike Senatore


Stubbornly low freight rates caused by an oversupply of freight hauling capacity led to significant struggles in 2023 for carriers operating in the refrigerated, bulk and auto hauling ­segments.

The top eight carriers on the refrigerated sector list all experienced revenue declines in 2023. Prime Inc. and KLLM Transport Services remain the industry’s two largest refrigerated carriers, while Stevens Transport moved up one spot to No. 3.

 Mike Senatore

Flatbed/Heavy Specialized

Carriers in the flatbed and heavy specialized segment also faced difficulties in 2023. Daseke Inc., which was acquired by TFI International in April, again leads the pack, just ahead of Landstar System.

PS Logistics, Anderson Trucking Service and Bennett Family of Cos. continue to round out the top five.

 Mike Senatore


FedEx delivery driver

FedEx's parcel services remain atop the Package/Courier sector list in 2024 despite facing challenges in 2023. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg News)

The package/courier sector rankings saw almost no change from last year’s edition. Parcel giants FedEx Corp. and UPS Inc. remain far ahead of the pack despite posting revenue declines of 3.9% and 6.6% in their respective package delivery segments.

Canadian courier Purolator again ranks No. 3 but experienced a similar revenue decline of 6.4%.

 Mike Senatore

Household Goods/Commercial Delivery

The largest carriers in the household goods segment generally had a challenging year in 2023.

Top-ranked UniGroup, the parent of United Van Lines and Mayflower, reported $1.28 billion in revenue in 2023, down nearly 20% from $1.6 billion a year earlier.

 Mike Senatore


The top four transportation contractors for the U.S. Postal Service also remained unchanged from last year, while Houston-based Southern Mail Service joins the top five.

 Mike Senatore

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