Companies in this industry provide long-distance transportation by truck of general freight, in which freight from a single shipper makes up a truckload. Major companies include JB Hunt, Schneider National, Swift Transportation, and Werner Enterprises (all based in the US), along with TFI International (Canada).
The truckload market is expected to remain very strong in the second half of 2021 as demand continues to seasonally build through the year, despite the pandemic- related challenges. Companies must secure their inventory and transportation ahead to avoid complications in these tight transportation markets. Meanwhile, the outlook for the truckload market five years from now is likely to be less fragmented and less volatile as larger carriers incorporate and invest in technology, according to Logistics Management.
The US truckload carriers industry includes about 40,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $115 billion.
Full truckload (TL) shipments have trailers dedicated to a single shipper's cargo. In contrast, less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers transport the consolidated cargo of several shippers on one truck, dropping goods off at multiple delivery points. LTL carriers are covered in a separate industry profile.
Demand is driven by consumer spending and manufacturing output. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations. Large companies have advantages in account relationships, bulk fuel purchasing, fleet size, and access to drivers. Small operations can compete effectively by providing quick turnaround, serving a local market, or transporting unusually sized goods. The US industry is fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for about 40% of industry revenue.
Trucking competes with other forms of cargo transportation, including rail, air, and water. However, the shift toward intermodal transportation means that these modes of delivery are often more complementary than competitive.
Products, Operations & Technology
A truckload (TL) customer typically loads a trailer full (or nearly full); the carrier then transports the container, and a receiver unloads the contents.
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms