Six of the largest truckload carriers in the U.S. have combined logistics operations into a single Internet-centered entity that could make serious waves in truck transportation markets.
The carriers are Covenant Transport, Inc., Chattanooga, TN; J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., Lowell, Ark.; M.S. Carriers, Inc., Memphis, TN; Swift Transportation Co., Inc., Phoenix, AZ; U.S. Xpress Enterprises, Inc.; Chattanooga, TN, and Werner Enterprises, Inc., Omaha, NE. Their separate logistics operations billed $650 million in 1999.
The new company called Transplace.com
, is headquartered in Dallas, TX, with by Dr. Jun-Sheng Li as its president and CEO. Li formerly led J.B. Hunt Logistics, which he established and developed for the Arkansas carrier.
Transplace partners operate a total of 38,264 tractors, 91,531 trailers and 22,152 intermodal containers. They employ 47,981 drivers. The combined 1998 revenue for the six carriers was more than $5.6 billion. The figure would rank it behind UPS and Fedex as the third largest trucking entity in the U.S.
According to a press release issued Tuesday, Transplace.com will eventually involve many other carriers in an online logistics service that will also provide cooperative buying and other member benefits. Carriers will have to qualify for membership, but there will be no size requirement. Presumably even owner-operators could join if they meet other criteria.
Transplace.com's greatest impact may be the combined resources of six successful, technology-savvy fleets leveraged using sophisticated dispatch software. As of this writing, the exact nature and extent of cooperation among the six competing fleets is unclear. However, Tuesday's press release referred in one place to "increasing total available capacity to the shipping public" and in another to "the interoperability of trucking equipment among the founders of Transplace.com."
The subject of possible antitrust concerns did not come up in a Tuesday telephone press conference in which question time was limited. However, such concerns have restricted operational cooperation among some competing fleets in the past.