Top 50 Trucking Companies: Strongest get Smarter

The nation’s top trucking companies share “high intensity” management teams, financial stability, and IT systems that afford “two-way communication” with shippers—and they’re just getting wiser.

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Emerging from the three-year freight recession that slashed freight capacity and rates, the nation’s top trucking companies view themselves as innovators, collaborators, technology leaders, and operational experts—not just as survivors of the Great Recession. They also say that they’ve had to be part psychologist to retain drivers, part soothsayer to try and predict the future cost of fuel, and part accountant to keep a keen eye on ever-rising costs wherever possible.  Trucking insiders add that although all trucking companies basically use the same equipment over the same highways with the same pool of drivers, the Top 50 manage to differentiate themselves on many levels. According to John Larkin, longtime trucking analyst for Stifel Nicolaus, it starts at the top.

“When management intensity is high the organization pays attention to the details,” says Larkin. “Management at the Top 50 is thinking 3 years to 5 years down the road to make sure that changes in the market and the industry don’t leave the company up a creek without a paddle.”

This annual listing of the nation’s top trucking companies, compiled by leading trucking analyst firm SJ Consulting, runs the gamut of size and scope. There are units the likes of UPS Freight and FedEx Freight that are subsidiaries of multibillion corporations; and then there are family-owned companies such as New England Motor Freight, a unit of the Shevell Group overseen by founder, Myron Shevell, a man with six decades of trucking experience. But what all of these top operators have in common is operational excellence. Here’s a look at what’s making the Top 50 run like clockwork, and what shippers can expect from the best in class.

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