Deregulation of the U.S. trucking industry began in the late 1970s. Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 and it was signed into law by President Carter on July 1, 1980. This ended 45 years of regulation by the federal Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).
One of the most dramatic changes that occurred due to deregulation was the virtual explosion in the number of trucking firms. From 1980 to 1990, the number of licensed carriers doubled – from fewer than 20,000 to more than 40,000!
Forty years after the deregulation of the American trucking industry, truckinginfo.net estimates that there are 1.2 million trucking companies in the U.S. About 80% of these trucking companies are regarded as small businesses, with six trucks or less. Although the industry is still regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the opportunities to enter the trucking industry have broadened dramatically. It is estimated that there are now over 15.5 million trucks on the road; about two million are tractor-trailers.
FreightWaves Classics and the FreightWaves Haul of Fame will continue to highlight a number of these American trucking companies. FreightWaves Classics will also feature the photography of Jim Allen, who shoots, supplies and/or finds the majority of the photographs used on FreightWaves.com.
Some might say that “trucks are trucks…” and that is true to a degree. But every company has its own story. Moreover, almost every trucking company’s tractors and trailers have their own identities – different paint jobs, logos, decals, messages, etc. And for many of us involved in transportation, looking at them never gets old!
Established in 1971 and headquartered in Billerica, Massachusetts, Boyle Transportation is a specialized transportation logistics provider to select clients in the life sciences and government/defense sectors.
The company’s long-term focus on these technical and quality-focused markets means that Boyle Transportation operates with stringent quality standards, highly trained and dedicated professionals, and continual investment in technology and equipment. The company’s trucks operate throughout the 48 contiguous United States and Canada.
Boyle Transportation provides service to pharmaceutical companies and defense contractors – shippers of life-saving medicines and critical military material. For both types of clients Boyle offers expedited service, cross-border service, hazardous materials transportation and dedicated/private fleet services. All shipments and projects entrusted to Boyle Transportation are handled by its full-time employees; the company does not subcontract any work to third-party owner-operators.
For its pharmaceutical/life sciences clients, Boyle Transportation also offers validated temperature-controlled service. The company employs experts in secure cold chain and validated temperature control. Cold chain shipments include biologic and vaccine batches, within the strict temperature parameters of various classes of drug.
Boyle Transportation has a record of 99.999% temperature compliance (within 5°F of target). Each of its temperature-controlled trailers undergo calibration and thermal mapping prior to deployment and at regular intervals.
For its government and defense industry clients that need to transport classified shipments, Boyle Transportation has specific protocols that require strict compliance measures and constant surveillance by its vetted staff. For highly sensitive shipments, the company’s specific capabilities include: Defense Transportation Tracking System (DTTS); secure handling of sensitive/classified materials to National Industrial Security Program standards; constant surveillance service; dual driver protective service; protective security service; satellite motor surveillance service; DTTS trailer tracking service; and security escort vehicle.
Because of the nature of Boyle Transportation’s business and the industries it provides services for, its quality control systems are routinely audited by clients and regulatory agencies. The company has invested in a state-of-the-art fleet, which is enhanced with innovative safety systems and proprietary technology to provide ultimate visibility.
Brakebush Brothers, Inc./Brakebush Transportation
Based in Westfield, Wisconsin and in business since 1925, Brakebush Brothers, Inc. is a family-owned business.
The company started with one truck nearly 100 years ago. With that one truck, William and Ott Brakebush transported local livestock and poultry to markets in Madison and Milwaukee. The business grew and expanded; the brothers bought eggs from local grocers and sold them in the larger cities. It expanded again when the company began buying live poultry, dressing and freezing it as a service to customers.
A dressing and freezing facility was built and this started the modern Brakebush Brothers, Inc. in the food industry. Starting as a one-room egg candling business, the company has evolved into a computerized poultry processor. Through it all, the Brakebush family has kept the same ideals that the company’s founders had when they started: “provide the highest quality product at a fair price and back it with the finest service.”
Brakebush Brothers, Inc. provided processed, cooked chicken; it then expanded into the chicken portioning/sizing business. In 2013, Brakebush acquired a state-of-the-art portioning facility in Irving, Texas. In 2016, Brakebush acquired an additional processing facility in Wells, Minnesota, followed in 2018 by the acquisition of a House of Raeford facility in Mocksville, North Carolina that was previously damaged in a fire. The company rebuilt the facility in 2019 and it operates as a value-added poultry plant.
As the Brakebush Brothers business has grown, the company has also grown its transportation business – Brakebush Transportation. “Transportation continues to play a critical part of the service offered to our customers,” notes the company website.
The company owns a private fleet of more than 70 trucks and 230 temperature-controlled trailers equipped with real-time GPS and temperature monitoring systems. The company transports full truckload and multi-stop shipments throughout the continental U.S.
As the Brakebush Transportation website notes, “Our drivers do more than ship chicken and cheese. The brokerage department at Brakebush Transportation connects drivers with the best reefer loads on the most profitable freight lanes.”
Henry H. Braum leased a converted house and used it as a small butter processing plant in Emporia, Kansas in 1933. The next year, the house’s owner built a new 25 x 80-foot building; Braum moved production to that facility. He added milk processing later. Braum’s son, Bill, helped his father with the family business throughout his childhood.
Braum expanded the business, adding ice cream processing in 1940. Bill Braum went to college at the University of Kansas in 1945 and graduated with a Business Administration degree. He returned to Emporia to work for the family business. And Bill’s sister introduced him to Mary, his future wife.
The Braums sold the wholesale part of the business in 1952. They also purchased an old Kraft cheese factory and remodeled it as an ice cream and processing plant and began specializing in milk and ice cream. They opened a chain of retail ice cream stores in Kansas called “Peter Pan Ice Cream.”
Bill Braum purchased the company from his father in 1961 and also bought a dairy farm in Emporia. By 1967, Braum had grown the ice cream chain to 61 stores and the business had increased tenfold. The same year, he sold the “Peter Pan” retail stores to a large wholesaler; as a condition of the sale, the Braums were not allowed to sell ice cream in Kansas for 10 years.
However, the sale did not include the Braum dairy herd and processing plant. So in 1968, Bill and Mary opened the first Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Store in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They opened 23 more stores across Oklahoma that same year.
For three years, because the Braum dairy herd and processing plant were still located in Emporia, all ice cream, dairy products, and other supplies were transported daily from Kansas to Oklahoma. This was the start of the Braum transportation fleet.
In 1971, the company built a 60,000-square foot processing plant in Oklahoma City. Four years later (1975), the Braum’s dairy herd (which was the largest dairy herd in Kansas) was moved to Oklahoma. This “modern-day cattle drive” transported over 900 cows in a convoy of semi-trucks to their new home at the Braum Farm in Tuttle, Oklahoma. In 1978, the first Braum’s bakery was built next to the Oklahoma City processing plant. That bakery produced the fresh bakery items available in Braum’s stores including cookies, ice-cream cones, buns, loaves of bread, etc.
Next, Bill and Mary Braum purchased several farms in southeastern Oklahoma. Each farm had a specific role in the Braum business, from growing feed for the dairy herd to raising each new generation of calves. In 1987, Braum construction crews built a 260,000-square foot processing plant on the Braum Farm in Tuttle, Oklahoma. The 60,000-square foot processing plant in Oklahoma City was converted into Braum’s corporate headquarters. In 1988, growth continued; Braum purchased another farm near Follett, Oklahoma, that is used primarily to grow alfalfa to feed the company’s dairy herd. Since then, the farm has grown to 24,000 acres, or equal to about 38 square miles.
In 1993, Braum construction crews built one of the largest milking operations in the world. Also built on the Tuttle Farm, it consists of a milk barn and 17 free-stall barns that are home to the Braum’s private dairy herd. These facilities cover almost 35 acres.
The operation grew again in 2002, when a milking complex was built on the Follett Farm. It is smaller than the Tuttle Farm milking operation, but the Follett dairy herd provides thousands of gallons of fresh, raw milk each day. This milk is then transported to the Braum’s processing plant in Tuttle.
A new 240,000-square foot bakery and warehouse distribution facility were built in 2010 adjacent to the processing plant on the Tuttle Farm.
The 50th anniversary of the first Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Store in Oklahoma City was in 2018. The company continues to be family-owned and -operated. The Braum family owns and operates 280 stores located throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas.
Each of those stores are located within a 300-mile radius of the Tuttle processing plant. The company’s fleet of delivery trucks operate seven days a week, delivering fresh products to each store every other day.
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