The top 5 LTL carriers own over 46% of the market.  The 5 largest truckload carriers have about 3% of the truckload market.

The 5 largest truckload carriers by revenue are listed below.

Truckload carriers provide long-distance transportation by truck of general freight from a single shipper.  The freight generally fills up an entire truck or pretty close to it..  Full truckload (TL) carriers 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.

Truckload shipments are typically faster than LTL shipments because the driver goes directly from shipper to consignee.  Truckload shipments also get handled less and are the more cost effective than LTL shipments.

Largest Truckload Carriers – Competitive Landscape

The truckload market is a lot larger than the LTL industry and more fragmented. The top 5 LTL carriers own over 46% of the market.  The 5 largest truckload carriers have about 3% of the truckload market.

90% of the truckload carriers in the US are classified as small businesses under Small Business Administration guidelines, and about 70 percent operate fewer than five trucks.

The increasing governmental regulations could drive consolidation within the truckload marketplace.

During the downturn, carriers invested less in new trucks and terminals because shipping tonnage decreased.  As the economy improved sluggishly, carriers were very conservative with their investments.  Now, shipping tonnage has increase and trucking capacity is limited.  Truckload shipment will most likely become more expensive in 2013.


5 Largest Truckload Carriers, 2011 Sales, % of Market

Swift $3,021M 0.86%

Schneider $2,600M 0.74%

Werner Enterprises  $1,684M 0.48%

Landstar  $1,660M 0.47%

U.S. Express Enterprises  $1,570M 0.45%


Important Trends – Largest Truckload Carriers

  • A new era of truckload regulation with hours of service changes, new CSA rules and Electronic  On-Board Recorders has increased operating challenges for TL operators, both large and small
  • Operating cost pressures for aging equipment, changes in fuel and a rebound in industries that attract would-be drivers from the Trucking industry has made it increasingly difficult for carriers  to manage their yield as Operating costs fluctuate
  • Capital constraints for small carriers has made it increasingly difficult to compete with larger carriers in the marketplace as they look for ways to make long-term capital investments
  • The information above was provided courtesy of Carrier Direct.  Carrier Direct created a very insightful industry report.  Click here for a summary of the report or download the entire report.