Knight’s Facebook page was busy Monday with questions and answers about the big merger news with Swift.
Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation Monday announced plans to merge, with the new holding company to be called Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. The companies said the deal will bring together two of the largest players in trucking for a combined enterprise value of $6 billion – but the two companies will still operate separately.
Hundreds of drivers commented on a video of Knight Executive Chairman Kevin Knight (who will be executive chairman of the holding company and president of Swift once the merger closes), telling drivers and other employees that despite the new common ownership agreement, Knight and Swift will continue to operate as separate brands, with separate terminals, operations, etc.
“Knight and Swift will operate as they do today but now under the same parent company ownership after the close,” noted the company in a comment. “There will be no co-mingling of facilities, trailers, equipment, etc.”
Some drivers weren’t buying that contention, with one even posting a photo of a Knight truck pulling a Swift trailer. Knight’s Facebook page responded, “This is a great example showing that this already happens from time to time for whatever reason. We are committed to independent operations and the frequency of this happening should not increase. As a Knight Driving Associate you will pulling Knight trailers.”
And in fact, other drivers pointed out they had seen other big truckload companies, such as Werner, Schneider, and Heartland, pulling Swift trailers.
Others were skeptical that the companies truly would remain separate and pointed to other examples of mergers where one company eventually was swallowed by the other even though initial plans were to keep them separate. “That's what they told us at Gordon when Heartland took us over,” said one. Others pointed to various other carriers Swift has purchased through the years, including M.S. Carriers and Dick Simon Trucking.
Some drivers were excited, while others expressed concern about the merger with the larger company. Some felt Knight could teach Swift a thing or two, and others vice versa. "I am a Central Refridgerated driver,” wrote one driver. “Bought by swift....I think knight will benefit greatly from learning how swift does dedicated. Dedicated accounts is where it at.”
While another wrote, “As a former Knight reefer driver I know Knight knows how to run a good company. I am happy that someone came in to hold swifts hand and show them how trucking is supposed to be done.”
One driver asked if the two companies would now share a CSA score. Knight replied, “No, the CSA scores will not merge an your frequency of getting scaled will not change.”
Several drivers contended that Swift drivers have a bad reputation as being unsafe. “Just this morning I was super delayed by an accident caused by a Swift driver (surprise) and thought, ‘I'm so glad I'm not one of those.’” Another driver, however, pointed out that “Swift has the most trucks on the road so you will see a few more unsafe drivers.”