Monday, November 7, 2016

Picking Up

LTL carriers expanding to accommodate anticipated growth.

While truckload pricing for carriers has been soft overall, strong pricing for less than truckload, or LTL shipments, has several major carriers voting with their dollars on a bullish future, placing serious bets on expansion plans to grow market share in the industry moving forward. 

Saia, the ninth largest U.S. LTL carrier, announced plans to open three to five terminals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, part of a nearly $200 million expansion program. The Johns Creek, Georgia-based LTL company had relied on carrier partners in the Northeast, as well as the Northern Plains, to pick up and deliver freight in those regions.

YRC Freight, which spent years after absorbing both its purchase of Roadway and the recession in “rightsizing” its terminal network, just opened a new freight terminal, its 259th, in Conley, Georgia. The company is also investing in new route optimization and in-cab safety technology for its fleet of 15,000 tractor-trailers, reported the Journal of Commerce.

Old Dominion Freight Lines has been aggressively building out its terminal network, adding its 21st service center in Texas and expanding many existing terminals and Estes Express Lines says it has plans for a new terminal in the Chicago area.

While truckload pricing has been hammered down this year, LTL pricing is not only stable, but rising. Saia reported its contractual price renewals in the third quarter increased an average of 5.7 percent. That compares with a 5.5 percent drop in the average truckload rate at C.H. Robinson.

Some LTL carrier will be “picking up” the increased business from new and expanding customers as the economy itself picks up, the carriers figure, and they want to be the one.

Kirk Shearer
800-989-0054 x103

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