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Forward’s less-than-truckload service added to more terminals

Forward joins others in LTL push

Forward Air truck on highway (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Forward Air (NASDAQ: FWRD) continues to make good on its pledge to “not wait” and “remove ceilings” on the advancement of its growth initiatives.

In a Monday press release, the Greeneville, Tennessee-based trucking company said it was expanding its traditional less-than-truckload (LTL) offering to include Columbia, Missouri, and Roanoke, Virginia. The company plans to offer the service out of its existing final-mile terminals in those two markets.

The carrier first laid out plans to offer LTL services outside of its normal airport-to-airport footprint in July, saying it would utilize its Savannah, Georgia, final-mile facility to launch the offering. Historically, Forward has specialized in hauling airfreight by ground for airlines, cargo carriers and freight forwarders to and from terminals located near major airports.

However, on its second-quarter conference call, the company accelerated the LTL growth initiative, saying there would be “more Savannahs to come.”

“By leveraging our existing final-mile network, we are able to expand our LTL footprint at a greatly reduced investment,” said Chairman, President and CEO Tom Schmitt in the release. “This type of organic growth allows Forward to bring expedited LTL into markets outside of our traditional coverage model – and we are excited to bring our world-class expedited LTL offering to Columbia and Roanoke.”

Forward’s LTL expansion follows similar moves made in the space in recent months.

Old Dominion Freight Line (NASDAQ: ODFL) has already opened nine terminals this year, adding roughly 500 doors to its network. Roadrunner Transportation Systems (OTC: RRTS) added three new LTL service centers, 169 doors, in Chicago, Philadelphia and Riverside, California, this summer as part of its corporate overhaul focused on becoming a national LTL carrier. YRC Worldwide (NASDAQ: YRCW) previously announced the expansion of its regional next-day service, adding lanes in the mid-South and Texas.

Forward’s Columbia and Roanoke facilities will now provide same-day pickup and delivery as well as final-mile delivery of goods to residences.

Earlier this month, Forward acquired final-mile delivery company CLW Delivery in a $5.5 million deal. This was the latest tuck-in acquisition for the company as it moves forward with a no-wait approach.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

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.