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 onerous 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!
Bridgford Foods Corporation
Hugh H. Bridgford (1908-1992) opened a retail meat market in San Diego, California in 1932. What became Bridgford Foods Corporation grew from that first meat market into several retail meat markets, and later to meat wholesaling, frozen food distribution, meat processing and frozen food manufacturing.
Eighty-nine years after its founding, the company is headquartered in Anaheim, California. In addition to a bakery operation in Anaheim, Bridgford Foods Corporation includes five additional facilities – two in Dallas, two in Chicago, and one in Statesville, North Carolina. The company has approximately 500 employees.
In 1962 Bridgford Foods pioneered the production and sale of frozen bread dough to supermarkets and institutional customers. First produced at the Anaheim meat-processing facility, more frozen bread capacity was added in Dallas in 1968 and 1985, and in Statesville in 1996. In 1975, the company acquired its Chicago meat processing facility. At this facility, the focus is dry and semi-dry sausage and beef jerky. An additional meat processing plant in Chicago was acquired in 2017.
Today, the company’s principal products include frozen bread dough, buttermilk biscuits, monkey bread, beef jerky, shelf-stable dry and semi-dry sausage and shelf-stable sandwiches. Bridgford products are sold to food retailers and the foodservice industry throughout the United States, Canada and a number of overseas markets.
In 1974, Tony Griffith was laid off from his job. He met a mover who had a moving truck leased to Bekins Van Lines. The mover offered Griffith a driver’s helper job, and he took it. Three months later, Griffith bought the truck…
He contracted with Bekins, and over time became one of the company’s top drivers. With his experience he started Broadway Express. In 1988, Griffith purchased the Yellow Freight Terminal in Effingham, Illinois. Effingham is the county seat of Effingham County, which is located in the south-central area of the state about 210 miles southwest of Chicago.
Griffith established a regional hub for Bekins that specialized in less-than-truckload (LTL). The hub serviced dozens of trucks daily from 1988-1996.
Today, the company specializes in moving all sizes and types of objects – big or small, whether in the Effingham area or nationwide. The “Broadway” in Broadway Express developed from the company’s hauling of shows, displays, art and musicals into the New York City entertainment district.
According to Griffith, “The good thing about Broadway Express is we had all of these connections still in place from all of our contacts in the Bekins family that were accustomed to seeing our trucks.”
From the small town of Effingham and over the course of 40 years, Griffith has moved items for the late Bob Hope and Elizabeth Taylor, Air Force generals (including the service branch’s Chief of Staff), Broadway musicals such as “Showboat” as well as sets for “American Idol” and “X-Factor.” The company has also moved such diverse items as MRIs and other hospital equipment, gun safes, animatronic dinosaurs and even helicopters.
The Broadway Express staff prides itself on the ability to move anything and everything for its customers. “We will come out for two pieces or 200 pieces. We don’t specialize in one thing,” said James Craig of the Local Move Division. “Locally, we may be loading furniture one day and something spectacular the next – like a rare automobile – that is a daily event at Broadway Express.”
Currently, Broadway Express has about 40 trucks available coast to coast. Locally, Broadway Express focuses on moving household goods – along with its many other services.
Griffith added, “If you take experience and concern for your customers to heart, and always try to do a good job, then you can’t fail.” Today, Broadway Express is a division of Griffith Trucking, Inc.
On the company’s website you will see the following: I + Q = S, which stands for Innovation + Quality = Success. That seems to have worked for Broadway Express, and will probably work for all of us…
Brossard Location de camions (Brossard Leasing)
Guy Brossard established Brossard Location de camions (Brossard Leasing) in 1973 while he worked for Transport Coupal, his family’s company. Brossard thought there was an opportunity to prosper by renting heavy vehicles.
Apparently he was right. Today, Brossard Leasing is the largest heavy vehicle lessor in the Canadian province of Quebec. The company has a team of 150 leasing specialists, over $175 million in assets and a fleet of more than 3,600 vehicles. Brossard Leasing offers daily, weekly or monthly rentals; however, the rental period can be extended up to 10 years.
Brossard Leasing customers include carriers, distributors, manufacturers and service companies that need additional equipment and service.
In the early 1990s the company had over 1,500 units to lease. It outgrew its original facility in Ville Lasalle and moved to larger facilities in the small city of Dorval in 1994. By 2000 the company’s continued growth led to a new branch.
The Brossard team knows the importance of responding quickly to its customers. The company’s Operations Center operates 24/7/365, reflecting the customer service for which the company is known.
Brossard Leasing has been affiliated with NationalLease for more than 30 years. Founded in 1944, the NationaLease network today consists of 165 independent members with more than 900 branches and 155,000 vehicles, making it one of the largest serviced truck rental organizations in North America.
The independent members of NationaLease exchange services to better serve customers across North America. In addition, the members formed a purchasing group and with volume purchases the group has contracts with all the major manufacturers of trucks, trailers, tires and heavy-duty vehicle components.
For the third year in a row Brossard Leasing was awarded the prestigious title of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for its overall performance and sustained growth.
During the Great Depression, Rudy Buchheit began hauling livestock to market for farmers around Scott City, Missouri, which is located about 120 miles southeast of St. Louis.
As noted on the company website, in 1934 there were “no superhighways, no GPS units – just Rudy, his truck, and his determination to feed his family.”
To maximize his trips Buchheit began a backhaul operation, bringing goods back to area residents on his return trip. This was a successful endeavor, and Buchheit Trucking got its start.
“Several million miles later, Buchheit has become the #1 independent logistics corporation in the region with a network connecting continents around the globe,” according to the company website.
The website continues, “Yet in spite of our success, we’ve never forgotten the simple principles that drove Rudy back in 1934 – get it there on time, get it there in good condition, and get it there for a fair price. We call it ‘Rudy’s way.’ And no matter how much farther down the road we go, we’ll never lose sight of it.” That sounds like a pretty reasonable business plan…
Buchheit Logistics has four different fleets of equipment – end dumps, hopper bottoms, dry vans and flatbed trailers. Its fleet of trucks and trailers run throughout the 48 contiguous states and portions of Canada.
Among the services the company offers are: contract carriage; brokerage; intermodal; private carriage; and dedicated fleet options. It handles a wide range of goods, including hazardous materials hauling; EPA tarped equipment; raw materials; recyclables; finished goods; and refuse.
On the logistics and freight management side, the company offers “storage for a few pallets or a complete distribution system.” Among its services are: handling and storage; flow-through warehousing; food-grade facilities; inventory control, vendor management and reporting; labeling; pick and pack; customized shipping services; floor loading, palletized or slip sheets.
The company offers southeast Missouri port access to the Mississippi River and to BNSF and Union Pacific railheads.
But it doesn’t stop there…
In addition to Buchheit Logistics, the company owns and operates several Buchheit retail stores that offer a variety of home and farm products (including: animal and pet supplies; automotive supplies; building materials; clothing; electrical supplies; farm and ranch supplies; and many more categories).
Buchheit Agriculture is an independent regional feed and fertilizer manufacturer. Its service areas include southeast Missouri and southern Illinois. Horizon Acres is a division of Buchheit Agriculture. Since 1934 the company has provided poultry feed that is fortified with vitamins, minerals and yeast cultures.
Carriage House Cabinet Collection is a distributor of quality cabinetry and has been in business since 1974.
Buchheit Metals is a supplier and fabricator of metal and lumber building materials. The company’s employees design steel buildings. The company provides cost-effective prefabricated structures for commercial, agricultural, industrial and residential use
Central States Small Engine Repair does what the name implies.
Finally, there is the American Tractor Museum, which is located in Perryville, Missouri. It “was created to celebrate the iconic machine and the backbone of America.” Once the pandemic is knocked down, I plan to visit!
To read earlier installments of the series, please follow these links: