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August 26, 2022 4:00 PM, EDT

Top 100 Private Carriers Expand Fleets Despite Challenges

Photo collage representing the top five companies on the Private Carriers listClockwise from top left: Pepsi Co., Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News, Sysco Corp., US Foods via Facebook, Performance Food Group via Facebook

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While still contending with supply chain constraints and stiff competition for drivers, the largest private motor carriers in North America are now facing an additional set of challenges connected to inflationary pressures, sky-high diesel prices and mixed economic signals.

Yet even in this uncertain business environment, a majority of the companies that appear on Transport Topics’ 2022 Top 100 Private Carriers list were able to expand their fleet operations during the past year.



Beverage and snack food distributor PepsiCo Inc., for example, grew its tractor count to 11,079, about 200 more than a year ago. That was more than enough for the company to retain its No. 1 position on the Top 100 list, which ranks companies based on the number of tractors in their private fleets.

Seth Clevenger

Clevenger

Next up is retail giant Walmart Inc., which moved up a spot to No. 2 after expanding its fleet to 9,280 tractors.

Food service distributors constitute the remainder of the top five, with Sysco Corp., US Foods and Performance Food Group coming in at Nos. 3, 4 and 5, respectively.

PFG climbed two spots from a year ago after completing its acquisition of Core-Mark in September 2021. Core-Mark, which distributes consumer goods to convenience stores, had ranked No. 32 prior to the acquisition.

The updated Top 100 reflects several other mergers and acquisitions.

Wayne-Sanderson Farms, which ranks No. 53, formed in July 2022 when a joint venture of Cargill and Continental Grain Co. acquired Sanderson Farms Inc. and combined the business with Wayne Farms, a subsidiary of Continental Grain. The combined company, headquartered in Oakwood, Ga., produces poultry products and prepared foods at plants across Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas.

Acquisitions also continue to reshape private fleet operations in the energy sector.

ProFrac Holding Corp., a provider of hydraulic fracturing and well completion services, makes its debut on the Top 100 this year at No. 18 after acquiring oil field services firm FTS International in March 2022. FTS had ranked No. 34 on last year’s list. Willow Park, Texas-based ProFrac, founded in 2016, also raised $288 million through an initial public offering on May 12.

In addition to ProFrac, six other new companies joined the Top 100 this year.

The most prominent example is online used-car re­tailer Carvana, which entered the list at No. 29. The Tempe, Ariz.-based company, founded in 2012, has been rapidly scaling up its auto-hauling fleet in recent years to support its ­e-commerce platform for buying and selling cars. Carvana’s growing fleet includes 1,262 tractors to haul vehicles from city to city, as well as 2,204 straight trucks that provide home delivery of purchased vehicles.

Other newcomers to the Top 100 include No. 75 Marathon Petroleum Corp., No. 87 J.R. Simplot Co. and No. 92 Liquid Environmental Solutions.

Marathon, headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, operates 13 oil refineries across the United States.

Simplot is a Boise, Idaho-based agribusiness company involved in farming, ranching, food processing and fertilizer production.

Liquid Environmental Solutions collects, recycles and disposes of nonhazardous liquid waste for customers that include restaurants, grocery and convenience stores and automotive maintenance providers.

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Also joining the list this year is Salisbury, Md.-based poultry producer Perdue Farms at No. 96.

And just cracking the Top 100 in a tie at No. 99 is SRS Distribution, a Texas-based distributor of roofing materials and building products.

Some other private carriers made notable moves up the rankings.

One example is Bunzl Distribution USA, which jumped to No. 42, up from No. 86 a year ago. The company supplies paper and plastic packaging and other products to food processors, supermarkets and convenience stores.

Meanwhile, online retailer Amazon.com Inc. rose to No. 19, up from No. 22 a year ago, after expanding its tractor count to 1,645, an increase of 250 from a year earlier. Tractors, however, remain a relatively small component of Amazon’s fleet, which includes 37,410 trailers and 12,835 straight trucks according to carrier registration data filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.