LTL: Then and Now with David Ross

David Ross and Joe Lynch discuss LTL: then and now. David is the Executive Vice President of Roadrunner Freight, a leading less-than-truckload carrier offering high quality and reliable LTL services

About David Ross 

David Ross is the Executive Vice President of Roadrunner Freight.  Mr. Ross was most recently Managing Director and Group Head of Stifel’s Global Transportation & Logistics Equity Research practice. During his tenure at Stifel, his awards included ranking #1 in stock picking multiple times in the Wall Street Journal’s Best on the Street Analysts Survey and in Financial Times/StarMine America’s Top Analysts report. He is the former author of the monthly Cass Transportation Index Report, speaks regularly at industry conferences, and has advised supply chain leaders and executives of both public and private carriers, shippers, and 3PLs on operations and strategy.

Before joining Stifel in 2005, he was an analyst with Legg Mason Capital Markets, worked briefly in the industry at RailWorks Corp., and began his career as an analyst in the global investment banking division of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown. Mr. Ross received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and is a CFA charterholder.

In addition, he serves on the Ubuntu Council for the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), and the Board of Directors for the Carson Scholars Fund, The Fountainhead Residency, and the Humane Society of Greater Miami. He also sits on the Advisory Boards for PICKUP Now, Inc. and EmergeTech, LLC.

About Roadrunner Freight

Roadrunner Freight is a leading less-than-truckload provider offering high quality, reliable LTL services. Roadrunner’s “Ship It Like You Own It” commitment guides the company to provide unparalleled service and reliable LTL solutions for customers. With 31 service centers and strategic partnerships across the country, Roadrunner delivers expansive long-haul metro to metro service connecting major U.S. markets. For more information, please visit For information on joining the Roadrunner Freight team, please contact [email protected]. Independent Contractors and Owner Operators interested in driving and lease purchase opportunities can call 888-874-9174 or email [email protected] to learn more.

Key Takeaways – LTL: Then and Now

  • History of LTL
    • Less-than-truckload carriers began operating in the 1920’s when the economy was very spread out and driven by manufacturing. Overtime the less-than-truckload business has shifted from a heavily unionized industry to a mostly non-union industry.
    • When deregulation of the trucking industry occurred in 1980, 55 of the top 60 less-than-truckload carriers were union, today only 3 of the top 60 less-than-truckload carriers are union.
    • The LTL market is about one tenth the size of the truckload market.
    • Only 5 carriers control about 60% of the less-than-truckload freight market: FedEx, Old Dominion, XPO, Estes, and TForce Freight (which acquired UPS Freight).
  • LTL Future: Pricing
    • The less-than-truckload pricing is complex and the industry is slowing moving to a new pricing model that will be simpler.
    • The outdated tariff model is going away as smart carriers adopt technology and dimensioners that enable them to better cost the freight.
  • LTL Future: Modal Mix
    • The LTL industry is right between the small package market (UPS, FedEx) and the truckload market.
    • In the past, the small package and truckload carriers were able to win some of the business that would have normally gone to the LTL carriers.
    • Today, the modal mix is very favorable to LTL carriers because truckload carriers and the small package providers are swamped and they can’t compete with the LTL pricing.
  • LTL Future: Ecommerce
    • Ecommerce and the Amazon effect has sped up the entire supply chain, which is good for the less-than-truckload business.
    • Ecommerce fulfillment centers often need more frequent replenishment of smaller quantity sizes. As a result, ecommerce has been very beneficial for the less-than-truckload business.
    • To support same-day and next-day shipments, there is a trend of fulfillment centers being smaller and closer to consumers. This trend will be very advantageous for the less-than-truckload industry.
  • LTL Future: Labor
    • Less-than-truckload Truck drivers are generally paid more thank truckload drivers.
    • The less-than-truckload industry is facing a serious shortage of drivers and dock workers.
    • The Biden administration is pro-union, which could potentially impact the less-than-truckload industry.
    • Less-than-truckload shippers and carriers are learning the importance of making the job more attractive for drivers and dock workers.

Learn More About LTL: Then and Now

Roadrunner Freight

David Ross

David is active in the following charities, check them out: 

Fountain Head

Africa Outreach Project

Humane Society of Greater Miami

Carson Scholars Fund

Other Podcasts About LTL

A New Model for LTL Shipping with Keith Farnsworth

LTL Basics with Doug Sartain

The Logistics of Logistics Podcast