2011 Q4Q Winners: NATIONAL LTL

When all is said and done, history may reveal that the Great Recession was cruelest to the carriers that make up the national less-than-truckload (LTL) category. As our John Schulz has been reporting over the past year, the overall LTL market has been less than profitable for many of the top carriers in this $27.5 billion sector, which has been plagued by overcapacity, high overhead costs, and staggering losses from its largest players.

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Source: Logistics Management, American Truck Media Research Group

Tough road to the top
When all is said and done, history may reveal that the Great Recession was cruelest to the carriers that make up the national less-than-truckload (LTL) category. As our John Schulz has been reporting over the past year, the overall LTL market has been less than profitable for many of the top carriers in this $27.5 billion sector, which has been plagued by overcapacity, high overhead costs, and staggering losses from its largest players.

Our daily coverage of the market reveals that parent companies of the two largest national, unionized LTL carriers—YRC Worldwide and Arkansas Best Corp.—continue to bleed red ink even as the U.S. economy maintains a slow and sluggish recovery. As shippers will read in this month’s news section, however, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel for YRC as the ailing carrier has completed a new $500 million restructuring that includes a new $400 million lending agreement.

But while it’s been tough going, the eight carriers on our list below have received word that shippers believe their service is second to none despite myriad operating challenges. In the National LTL category we find FedEx National LTL (45.83) and Con-way Freight (44.18) taking highest honors this year. As it did last year, FedEx National just slightly edged by Con-way in every attribute category to post the highest weighted average.

In the Multiregional LTL category, we find that FedEx Freight (47.15), Old Dominion Freight Line (44.32), and UPS Freight (43.98) ring in as repeat winners this year in the same order as the 2010 results. Estes Express Lines (43.21) joins the list this year after missing the cut in 2010.

It was nearly a toss up in this year’s Surface Package category. In perhaps one of the closest categories we measure, FedEx Ground (49.67) and UPS (49.51) came in above the weighted average. FedEx took top marks in Value and Customer Service, while UPS posted highest scores in On-time Performance, IT, and Equipment & Operations.


2011 Quest for Quality Winners Categories

NATIONAL LTL | REGIONAL LTL | TRUCKLOAD | RAIL/INTERMODAL
OCEAN CARRIERS | 3PL | AIR CARRIERS | FREIGHT FORWARDERS


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