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Forward Air to offer traditional less-than-truckload service

New service will be company’s first offering outside of airport-to-airport

Forward Air truck at United cargo facility (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Forward Air (NASDAQ: FWRD), recently rebranded Forward, announced that it will now offer a traditional less-than-truckload (LTL) service.

The Greeneville, Tennessee-based trucking company said that Forward LTL will provide LTL service, operating out of the company’s final mile facility in Savannah, Georgia. The company will assess the need for a separate LTL facility based on the success of the launch.

Forward has historically specialized in the movement of airfreight by ground through scheduled and expedited LTL service for airlines and cargo carriers as well as freight forwarders. The company runs linehaul service from its terminals that are located in or around major airports.

This will be the company’s first LTL offering outside of its normal airport network.

“This is an exciting time at Forward as we continue to flex our muscles. Savannah marks the first time that we have expanded our LTL network beyond our current airport-to-airport footprint,” said Chairman, President and CEO Tom Schmitt. “We are also leveraging our Final Mile network to greatly reduce the level of investment required for this LTL expansion. Savannah is a great example of the synergies within our networks that offer opportunities for growth.”

Forward has been growing into a full supply chain solutions provider through organic initiatives and acquisitions. In 2014, the company acquired Central States Trucking. The $96 million deal provided a presence in the container and intermodal drayage market. In 2015, Forward acquired competitor Towne Air Freight for $125 million, giving it a final mile platform for home delivery of appliances and furniture. In 2019, Forward expanded its final mile operations with two all-cash acquisitions: the $27 million acquisition of FSA Logistix in March; and the $57 million purchase of Linn Star Holdings.

From the press release, “With the addition of LTL, the company brings a full assortment of services to the Savannah market, including export pickup, import delivery, intermodal drayage, flatbed services and final mile delivery to bring products directly to customers’ homes.”

Shares of FWRD are flat in early trading.

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  1. Mike

    All I can say is it is about time ,
    I dont know way they have waited so long they have a network in place
    It only makes since.

  2. Lenny

    Todd Maiden great read! While everyone loos at the the YRC bail out picture Forward Air with standard LTL services could be the next best stock to hold for about 16 months. You noted stock was flat however at about $50.00 per share and the filling the empty capacity on some road expedited units could strongly improve the over all fleet’s operating ratio and drive it to a top industry low of below 70. That all depends if the company does not fall for that actual LTL mentality of follow the other companies and do what they do. I like the addition of the this LTL service and I am excited to get and hold onto some of FWRD.

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Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.