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Today, the Interstate Highway System accounts for nearly one third of the National Highway System, which carries the majority of heavy truck traffic. Trucking has gone through several cycles of regulation and deregulation. Excessive competition around the time of the Depression led to regulation in the s. Following the railroad model, the job of regulating the trucking industry fell to the Interstate Commerce Commission.

The ICC established operating authority that gave motor carriers the right to operate on particular routes, handling specified commodities. What Gallamore calls a "patchwork of legalistic, bureaucratic control of routes, rates, and commodities" lasted for roughly half a century. Detter spent the first 16 years of his career in the regulated environment, with the last 24 in the deregulated environment.

Before deregulation, "there were fewer competitors. Each carrier had certificates to serve a certain geographic area," Detter recalls. Operating authority was deregulated, and carriers could serve any area in the United States. The years following deregulation were turbulent, with much change taking place. A number of weak carriers went out of business or were acquired, and new, more efficient carriers began operating.

Prior to deregulation, the percentage of transportation cost to the total cost of manufacturing and delivering goods was much higher than it is today—perhaps 50 to 75 percent higher, he notes. Those costs have gone down dramatically. Deregulation changed trucking dramatically, and the industry has continued to evolve ever since, as motor carriers add new services, coverage areas, and even modes as they strive to meet customers' changing needs.

Today, proactive motor carriers have transformed from simply hauling shipments to becoming integral parts of their customers' supply chains. Here's a look at a few such truckers. Con-Way Transportation Services Inc. Con-Way companies provide ground expedited; air expedited; less-than truckload regional, inter-regional and transcontinental service; airfreight forwarding; assembly and distribution logistics; truckload and intermodal shipping. Con-Way got its start when deregulation happened, Jerry Detter explains. At the time, Detter was a division manager with Consolidated Freightways.

CNF leadership sought investment opportunities that would grow the company going forward. Spotting an opportunity for growth, our parent company decided to invest some of its cash into regional carrier operations that would enhance our sister company at the time—CF Motor Freight, a long-haul carrier.

Detter and two other CF managers were tapped to head the new regional businesses. Detter wrote the business plan in September for what became Con-Way Central Express, a start-up, non-union regional carrier that began operating in June the following year. Con-Way Western Express started up in May But the regional carriers were a success, and customers encouraged them to expand into new, larger geographic areas.

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Because the Con-Ways were profitable, the parent company decided to let them go head-to-head against all the competition—including sister company CF Motor Freight. The Con-Ways continued to grow and expand into new markets. The Central, Southern, and Western operations were linked to cover the entire 48 states. By April , the company had evolved into a fully integrated national network, providing one- and two-day delivery of LTL shipments as well as transcontinental service. Next, the company added a third-party logistics and warehousing capability, and introduced full load and airfreight services.

Up to this point, Con-Way has grown the business organically, and will continue to look at new start-up opportunities, Detter says. However, "that doesn't mean that, in the future, we won't look at acquisitions that are accretive and attractive to us, that enhance our menu of services and companies. Founded in as Arkansas Motor Freight, a small local carrier, the company today offers direct service to all 50 states, nine Canadian provinces, Guam, and Puerto Rico, with broad service to Mexico. ABF trucks travel more than one million miles a day, carrying more than 17 million pounds.

Louis, then spreading out to Texas, Chicago, Indianapolis, Ohio, and cities in the south. Over a year period, the company expanded its operating authority to 11 states and changed its name to Arkansas-Best Freight System Inc. During the past 35 years, ABF's operations have changed significantly, says Wes Kemp, vice president of terminal operations. We used to have a lot of loose cartons; now everything is palletized, which has speeded the handling process and freed up our docks.

ABF has terminals today, compared to just 29 terminals in the late s. Not only has the number of terminals grown, so has the size of those terminals, which can range from 20 to 40 doors to a mega-distribution center with doors. While the material handling used in the terminals hasn't changed significantly since the s, the technology certainly has.

ABF today uses wireless communication technology to increase operational efficiency and visibility. The solution combines Nextel microbrowser technology—including cell phones with Internet connections—and proprietary web-based connections. Using a paperless dock application, for example, supervisors push assignments to yard workers, sending real-time instructions for trailer movement to their handhelds. The dock workers also enter information regarding the trailer's location and status.

Eighty percent of city drivers use the wireless technology, entering information from the shipment's bill of lading into a handheld at pickup and transmitting it to ABF's mainframe system. This enables ABF terminal workers to run an outbound planning application that optimizes the terminal's work. Drivers report deliveries via the microbrowser, updating the status of the shipment in real time and providing instant visibility for the customer.

Well into its eighth decade of operation, the company looks for continued success, Kemp says. Carriers need to have their methods down, good controls in place, and a culture where workers really want to serve customers and get excited about doing it.

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For ABF, these methods and controls include a disciplined approach to capital investments and pricing. This culture can be traced back to the s, to the founder of modern-day ABF, R.


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Quality improvement is a critical aspect of the company's culture. This culture, he notes, "may be the greatest competitive weapon we have. Ward picked up produce from farmers in central Pennsylvania, and hauled it into New York City where he would peddle it. Ward grew conservatively, one employee and one truck at a time. In , the ICC gave Ward authority to operate in 48 continental states, but it chose to continue as a regional carrier. When deregulation threw up a number of roadblocks, Ward Trucking responded cautiously.

The company began a slow process of expansion, filling out the rest of Pennsylvania and moving into Baltimore and Cleveland. Ward retained its customer base, providing a high-end service product. Then the road got a little rocky. He notes that Ward Trucking "was slow to understand and adapt to the changing marketplace, and slow to convert an operationally driven company into a sales-driven or customer-driven company. At the same time, trucking became much more competitive.

They sought to do things differently; they didn't have the baggage of being an operationally-centered company," Ward says.

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Ward Trucking struggled to keep up. Competitors told our customers that we were on the brink of going out of business. There were years when our employees received no pay increases or benefits. Thanks to what Ward calls "the golden balance sheet," the company rode out the turbulence and began building for the future. Dave Ward became president in and took swift action, making personnel changes at the executive level and in sales and marketing. In addition, realizing that the company's network of service centers "no longer made sense," he closed five small service centers, consolidating them into larger centers.

Throughout the s, Ward Trucking grew organically, adding service centers in locations such as Buffalo, Columbus, and Cincinnati. Two years ago, the company expanded into Virginia, acquiring a carrier with full service centers in Richmond and Winchester. Ward Trucking in decided to become a niche player, operating in a defined geographic area and specializing in unitized, palletized freight. The company's leadership team became more financially savvy, learning the dynamics and microeconomics of making money in the LTL business and creating a new profit model.

As part of its transition, the company has upgraded its carrier sales positions. Gaining an in-depth understanding of the company's profit model enables sales reps to ensure that the business they're seeking fits that model. The remake of Ward Trucking is paying off handsomely. We are constantly scanning the market horizon, asking relevancy questions, and studying the competition to learn what they are doing that the marketplace values.

Freight Transportation: Four for the Road

Three years later, Schneider acquired a transfer and storage company, then stayed in the moving and storage business until the s. Schneider gradually expanded through acquisition and organic growth. Schneider formally launched a logistics division—Schneider Logistics Inc. The carrier's growth has been steady, especially in the last decade. Schneider first surpassed one billion dollars in annual revenue in , Arves notes. The company doubled its revenue four years later; Arves anticipates hitting four billion dollars within the next four or five years.

Schneider today has 20, total associates, with 15, drivers and independent contractors.


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Some 20 percent of Schneider's total driving force today are owner-operators. Technology has been a key enabler for Schneider. In , Schneider installed two-way satellite communications in its trucks. These freight exchanges continue to grow with users able to connect cargo to transport across Europe and freight brokers able to monitor their fleet to ensure they are achieving maximum capacity or, at least, making sure their trailers are not returning home empty.

Below you can find the Top 10 Freight exchange platforms currently operating in Europe, in alphabetical order. Extra European platforms to add are welcome; place them in the comment below and they will be added. Established in , this subscription service offers fast, simple and reliable solutions. The main advantage of this freight exchange platform is the access to a large number of transport suppliers with minimum communication costs.

Once a load is posted, within a few minutes, around carriers receive notification and will be able to offer their services. For carriers, the freight exchange offers the opportunity to reach a large number of customers. CargoCore is a European provider of innovative electronic solutions for professionals in the transportation and logistics industry.

Freight Transportation: Four for the Road - Inbound Logistics

They understand your business and know how to help you achieve success. CargoCore enables you to easily and quickly find offers of freights and vehicles that will increase the efficiency of your business and reduce costs so that you no longer have to drive an empty vehicle or wait to pick up cargo. The EFE Euro Freight Exchange is an online platform, mainly used by freight forwarders, haulers, trade and manufacturing companies, which provides the exchange opportunities of cargo and vehicles all over Europe and beyond.

It has a fresh new website including features such as regular routes, transport rates, radius search and a tracking system. The Euro Freight Exchange is a way to reduce transportation costs, improve time management and increase competitiveness. As one of the most active European freight and haulage exchange websites, Euroloads. Express-online is a new tool to connect express carriers and freight forwarders in over 30 European countries, based on identified matches between the route of the vehicles and the needs of freight.

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A real-time warning system alerts ordering customers of the passage of a suitable vehicle at the time required. The platform is suited to travel carriers with a smartphone 3G function, especially within the light commercial vehicle sector. Size and features of the vehicles are pre-entered to avoid long searches or any mismatches.

Haulage Exchange offers freight exchange for large haulage firms, freight forwarding companies or owner-drivers, with over 3, members and 70, loads per month. This service allows you to develop the full potential of your firm to reach the highest profitability. Loads Today offers full truckloads from all over Europe on a daily basis in order to achieve optimum utilisation of your freight capacity. You can access the latest load offers for free, get information on your desired routes and all the latest offers via email subscription.

With an online account available around the clock, you have access to all your invoices and secure payment whenever you need, without installing expensive new software. Over the past few years, Returnloads.