The biggest trucking companies in the world are the unsung heroes of our modern-day world. Logistics nowadays, or put simply – the flow of things from point A to point B – is a booming, complex business which slowly grows larger and more influential. After all, we are getting more and more used to sitting in our comfortable chairs while the men and women of these companies you are about to see put hard work, sweat and fuel in getting your newest appliance, gadget, toy or anything you might have ordered, from a thousand miles away. You, however, are far from the main focal point of these companies, given that virtually every business depends on the input of raw material and output of goods which may or may not depend on one of these trucking giants.
While in the past, the delivery of goods mainly employed horse-drawn vehicles on land and ships across the water, railroads became available and widespread, which helped the global economy move faster and make bigger shifts. The invention of the internal combustion engine and the automobile, however, had a far more dramatic impact on the economy since the development of this new sort of vehicle made it able to go faster, restricted in its reach by nothing less than very rough terrain. People didn’t have to rely on animals or railroad companies to ship out their goods anymore, they could do it themselves with the convenience of their truck or hire someone to do it for them with the same efficiency. Bigger transport vehicles first saw extensive use in military logistics in the first World War. The eighteen-wheelers that we know today came at a little bit later point in history.
Earlier on, however unbelievable it might be for many of us, long-distance trucking happened without AC, GPS, WiFi and other particularly pleasant features which we supposedly cannot do without today. Nowadays, however, in the cabin of any self-respecting trucker, you can find a full set-up, including various threateningly complex knobs and buttons. Even so, this often does not go without a TV, perhaps, a resting area and various other luxuries one can afford to fit in a machine of that size. All of these are necessary on long-distance travels since a driver can spend their whole day moving towards the set destination. Albeit some of these not being some of the biggest transport companies globally, they sure have it all. From the people who drive, to the people who make the big decisions, check out our list of the ten biggest trucking companies in the world below, and if you’re interested, our list of the ten biggest logistic companies in the world to give you more insight into the workings of these world-known companies.
For those individuals that are heavily engrossed in the transportation industry, they will be the first to tell you that trucking is not a career; it’s a lifestyle. In many ways, these advocates are right, and the statistics speak for themselves. According to the American Trucking Associations, trucks move roughly 70% of the nation’s freight by weight. In 2015 alone, the transportation industry pulled in a massive $726.4 billion in revenue. To say that this industry does not impact every American in some manner would be a bald-faced lie.
According to the FMCSA’s most recent report on the subject, the number of for-hire carriers in the US total 586,014, private fleets total 747,781, and other interstate motor carriers total 144,170. Even with these substantial numbers, only a few companies sit above the rest in regards to size and total revenue. Here is the current list of the top 10 trucking companies in the world in terms of size and revenue (note that this data was reported prior to the Swift-Knight merger that took place in Q2 2017).
The biggest trucking company in the US is Knight-Swift, a merger between Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation. These two companies made an announcement earlier this year indicating they would join forces. Now in September, the companies completed the transition and are publicly traded as one carrier.
Based in Phoenix, Arizona where the two companies were originally located, Knight-Swift has a combined fleet of 77,000 trailers and 23,000 tractors. Knight-Swift also has 28,000 employees, many of whom consist of OTR truck drivers.
JB Hunt Transportation Company
The second-largest trucking company in the US is JB Hunt Transportation. Founded in 1961, JB Hunt is one of the newer trucking companies in an industry with several carriers that have been around a century and longer. However, JB Hunt has proven it can grow with the best of them.
Today, the company has a fleet of more than 100,000 trailers, including intermodal containers. That’s right, one-hundred-thousand trailers. Additionally, JB Hunt’s signature golden yellow marks more than 12,000 tractors running nationwide. The company currently employs about 22,000 people.
Formerly known as Con-way Inc., XPO Logistics is the third biggest company in the US. This trucking company is a global force with more than 755 warehouses and over 150-million sq—Ft. Of e-commerce distribution space. In an industry that is being taken over by e-commerce end-of-mile hauling, XPO Logistics is marking its presence in a mighty way.
To fulfil all of the e-commerce hauls in the marketplace, XPO Logistics depends on 16,000 tractors and 39,000 trailers. Additionally, the company runs a large number of intermodal loads, which incurs the need for 10,000 containers and 5,400 chassis to transport these loads. The company also owns more than 425 cross-dock facilities to accommodate loading and unloading on its dollar.
The fleet of orange, Schneider National is the fourth biggest trucking company on this list. However, the company holds its own in competition with No. 3. At Schneider, there are more than 10,000 company tractors and over 33,830 trailers. The company has 11,650 company trucking jobs currently available, and that number is growing every quarter thanks to an increase in industry demand.
Schneider National also has a global presence with facilities in China and throughout North America, totalling more than 165 trucking centres. Furthermore, Schneider has staying power, as nearly all of its customers are Fortune 500 companies.
Rounding out this list is Werner Enterprises, but being fifth is not a drop in the bucket. Werner is one of the biggest names in the trucking industry. The company has a fleet of 7,400 tractors and 24,000 trailers. More impressively, Werner Enterprises has facilities throughout the world in Australia, Africa, South America, North America, Europe, and Asia. In 2015 alone, the company netted a profit of $123.7 million.
YRC Freight traces its origins to Yellow Transit Company, a bus and taxi company in Oklahoma City in 1924. Yellow Transit later merged with Roadway, the dominant trucking company in the US for decades, and Reimer Express, the leading trucking company in Canada, to form Yellow Roadway Corporation, shortened to YRC Freight. The company’s specialty of hauling less-than-truckload freight fills the gap between parcel services such as UPS and FedEx and bigger hauliers like Hunt. In 2016, net revenues for YRC Freight reached $4.7 billion.
Future Outlook of the Trucking Industry
Despite the increase in rail and intermodal transport services, trucks continue to move the majority of goods and materials across the US. The industry will continue to grow over the years ahead with increasing demand by the corporate sector.
Truck driving continues to remain an attractive way to earn a living for many Americans. Unlike tech jobs, a graduate degree is not required to become a truck driver. While employees in other industries are losing jobs due to offshoring and automation, employees in the trucking industry have been, up until now, immune to the threat. However, recent advances in driverless trucks can pose a threat to the jobs of millions of Americans in the US. We will always need trucks to transport goods across the US, but the future of the trucking industry is almost certainly headed to autonomous drivers.
The trucking industry is rapidly growing, but also presents several challenges for small- and medium-sized carriers. Here are the most pressing issues in trucking today:
From hours-of-service to E-log devices to fuel emission requirements, government rules dictate almost everything about operating a truck. Most of the rules are designed to make trucking safer, but they also create a lot of red tape and extra expense for drivers and fleets.
Although diesel prices are currently low, saving on fuel and increasing fuel efficiency remain priorities for fleets of all sizes. Fuel card programs are one solution, providing discounts on diesel and many other services for trucking companies.
Trucking fleets may wait as long as 60 to 90 days to get paid by brokers and shippers. This extended cycle can drain a fleet’s cash flow and limit growth. Factoring—also called “accounts receivable financing”—turns fleets’ invoices into cash in less than a day, quickly building up their working capital.
There is a shortage of 48,000 truck drivers nationwide. Meanwhile, driver turnover rates are nearly 100%. To recruit and retain drivers, many fleets are boosting salaries, improving benefits and offering performance bonuses.
Truck drivers are twice as likely as other workers to be obese, have diabetes and not have health insurance. Poor health also puts drivers at risk for sleep apnea and other disorders. Recently, organizations like Rolling Strong, the Truckload Carriers Association and many trucking fleets have launched programs promoting better driver fitness.
Accidents and fatalities have increased in recent years as more trucks and other vehicles share the highways. New “sensing” technology that helps trucks avoid collisions should help reduce the number of accidents in the coming years.
Recent studies rank the United States’ highway infrastructure as 16th among developed countries. Without more public funding for roads and bridges, there will be more accidents, more delays and less profit for trucking companies in the future.
Benefits of Driving for the Biggest Trucking Companies
Why do you want to drive for the biggest trucking companies? For starters, each of these trucking companies has dedicated millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars to the trucking industry. In other words, there is little chance that these companies are going to flop. They are simply too vested to lose. That means you will be guaranteed a trucking job for as long as you want it.
At the same time, all of that invested capital grants these trucking companies the ability to invest in the best trucking equipment, technology, and job training. When you haul for a company like Werner Enterprises or JB Hunt, you are going to have the top of the line tractors that are up to par regarding DOT standards. You aren’t going to struggle with inspections or have to reconfigure your paperwork to cover your employer’s tracks. You can rest assured that you will be able to do your trucking job with the best of the best.
Along the same lines, trucking companies with so much invested in the business are going to do what it takes to hire the best truck drivers. This means you’ll see things like $8,000 sign-on bonuses and top-rated trucker benefits. You will be given the most sought-after rewards, such as safety bonuses and retirement plan options, to ensure that you will stay with these companies. After all, they can afford to make you happy as a trucker, and they will do what it takes to maintain a hard-working fleet of carriers. So, as you search for trucking jobs in your state, take a look at the opportunities available at the biggest trucking companies. It is a good place to start your search!
Opportunities abound in 2020
The trucking industry is filled with opportunities for people who love to drive trucks. There is a great and growing demand for skilled, professional, truck drivers. Many segments of the American economy are in dire need of truck drivers to make sure they get the goods they need in a timely manner to meet the demands of their customers. They cannot do it without truckers. Whether they are owner-operators or they work for a large or small trucking company, there are a growing number of employment opportunities available and a great outlook for truck drivers in 2020 and beyond.
Several Challenges to Overcome
There is good money to be made in the trucking industry. However, to be successful, trucking companies must be able to overcome several challenges to become and remain profitable. Some of the most pressing challenges are figuring out ways to recruit, train, hire and retain truck drivers to prevent a dire driver shortage. Trucking companies must integrate ELD and other new technologies to make trucking safer and more time and cost-efficient. Managing the cost of fuel, insurance, equipment, regulatory requirements, and crash litigation are some of the other challenges trucking companies must overcome to be successful.
Embracing Technological Solution
Embracing technological solutions is key to the future success of the trucking industry. Technology that improves risk management, driver hiring, safety, support, in-truck amenities and compensation. They need to be improved safety and performance and utilizing telematics, computerized systems for better dispatching, accounting, flow and harvesting of information on vehicle location, speed and mechanical condition and business operations. That’s the trucking industry’s outlook for 2020.
The trucking industry plays a very important role in economic stability and growth in the United States and around the world. In 2019, many carriers experienced reduced revenue streams due to falling demand and reduced freight rates precipitated by lessened shipping volume. The trade kerfuffle between China and the United States and the resultant threats of increased tariffs on billions of dollars worth of imported goods was partly to blame. However, industry experts see promising signs of improved trucking income in the second half of 2020.