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Will LTL Carriers Survive 2020?

Will LTL Carriers Survive 2020?

Posted: August 14, 2020 |

LTL carriers are struggling to survive during 2020. Revenues drop mirroring the Pandemic drop in demand, what’s next?

The $46 billion less-than-truckload (LTL) market, like most of the trucking industry, is challenged by the devastating economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The LTL carriers have struggled to maintain their business, with some rare exceptions, with flat or reduced revenues during 2019 and many revealing reduced revenues during the first half of 2020.  Will some of the LTL carriers survive the current business climate?

Shippers need to seize the opportunity of re-negotiating with the LTL carriers with the 20% overcapacity in the market place.  Large LTL carriers such as YRC operate expensive hub-and-spoke networks of hundreds of terminals with thousands of union-covered employees on the payroll.  These carriers must keep revenue coming in as they have too much overhead to simply turn off their costs when they hit a rocky market.  2020 has shaped up to be a shipper’s market.   

Quietly, carriers that compete both in the long-haul sector and LTL against YRC Freight have privately been hoping for YRC’s demise for more than a decade.

The landscape suddenly changed on July 01, YRC has been saved for a few years however, it would seem several smaller carriers who planned on grabbing YRC’s shipping volumes are now facing crisis.  YRC will continue to provide bargain rates as they attempt to fill its trucks.  Whether YRC will still provide those rates going forward now that it has at least four years of some financial stability is an open question.

CPC published the LTL earnings round-up on May 19, 2017:  YoY revenue for the top 25 carriers averaged a 7.8% increase during 2017.  Below, the top ten LTL carriers are showing 2019 – 2018 YoY changes substantially lower.  On average, LTL carriers show a 4.96% decline trending in the negative direction from 2017.

Rank 2019 Top 10


2019 Revenue

2018 Revenue

YOY Change

Revenue Second Quarter 2020

FedEx Freight   




$17.3 billion vs. $17.66 billion expected

YRC Worldwide




$1.015 billion, Net Loss $37.1 million

Old Dominion Freight Line




$896 million Net Income $147,805

XPO Logistics




$3.50 billion Net loss $132 million

UPS Freight




$29.0 Billion,13.4 % increase (Includes all Modes)

Estes Express Lines




Data not available

ABF Freight




Data not available

R+L Carriers




Data not available

Saia Inc.




$418.1 million, a 9.9% decrease

Southeastern Freight Lines




Data not available


CPC offers a free diagnostic to reveal significant opportunities to improve your transportation program.  The assessment is free with no obligation.  We haven’t seen this opportunity in the LTL market in many years, so the time is now to act and take advantage of this truly unique time in the marketplace and adding incremental cash flow to your bottom-line.  Call CPC for simplified solutions and guaranteed savings.   

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