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.
One of the most dramatic changes 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. So while the industry is still regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the opportunities to enter the market have broadened dramatically. It is estimated that there are over 15.5 million trucks on the road; about two million are tractor-trailers.
During Thanksgiving week, FreightWaves Classics will highlight a number of these North American trucking companies, and continue to do so over time. FreightWaves Classics will also feature the photography of Jim Allen, who 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 looking at them for many of us never gets old!
A & I Transport Inc./A & I Express Inc.
A & I Transport/A & I Express Inc. is headquartered in Watsonville, California.
In business for over 25 years, the company is a leader in time-sensitive and perishable goods transportation. A & I delivers temperature-controlled cargo across the continental U.S. with 100+ tractors and 100+ refrigerated trucks.
A world leader in gases, technologies and services for industry and healthcare, Air Liquide has operations in 80 countries. It has approximately 67,000 employees and serves more than 3.7 million customers and patients. Air Liquide is headquartered in Paris, and its 2019 revenue topped 22 billion euros.
Oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen are essential small molecules for life, matter and energy. They embody Air Liquide’s scientific territory and have been at the core of the company’s activities since its creation in 1902.
Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.
Focused on serving the energy, environment and emerging markets, Air Products provides essential industrial gases, related equipment and applications expertise to customers in dozens of industries, including refining, chemical, metals, electronics, manufacturing, and food and beverage. It is also the global leader in the supply of liquefied natural gas process technology and equipment. Air Products develops, engineers, builds, owns and operates some of the world’s largest industrial gas projects, including gasification projects that sustainably convert abundant natural resources into syngas for the production of high-value power, fuels and chemicals.
Founded in 1940, Air Products is headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Airgas, an Air Liquide company, is the leading U.S. supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases, as well as hardgoods and related products. It is one of the largest U.S. suppliers of safety products; and a leading U.S. supplier of ammonia products and process chemicals.
Airgas was founded in 1982 with the acquisition of a local distributor, Connecticut Oxygen. Over the next 35 years, the company has grown organically and through more than 500 acquisitions to become the largest U.S. distribution network in the packaged gas industry. Airgas was acquired by Air Liquide in 2016. It is headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania.
In 1939, Joe Albertson, a former Safeway district manager, took $5,000 he saved and $7,500 he borrowed and partnered with L.S. Skaggs. They opened the first Albertsons store in Boise, Idaho. Just two years later, Albertson opened two other stores in neighboring communities and grew the fledgling company’s sales to over $1 million by the end of 1941.
Today, Albertsons operates as a banner of Albertsons Companies, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States. With both a strong local presence and national scale, the company operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 20 well-known names.
All-Connect Logistical Services, Inc.
Headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, All-Connect Logistical Services started operations in May 1991. Specializing in cross-border logistics (freight forwarding, logistics and warehousing), the company offers full truckload), less than truckload, expedited and same-day services.
ALL Crane Rental
The ALL family of companies is the largest privately owned crane rental and sales enterprise in North America, with 33 branches operating under the ALL, Central, Dawes, Jeffers and ALT names.
In 1964, the three Liptak brothers founded ALL Erection & Crane Rental Corp. in Cleveland, Ohio – with just one crane. Their rental enterprise filled a need for contractors who couldn’t, or didn’t want to, own and maintain their own equipment.
Over time, the Liptaks purchased more cranes and developed relationships with manufacturers, allowing them to buy direct, first off the line models. But the brothers didn’t just add to their fleet, they continuously reinvested in their yard by adding special shops for welding, machining, service and maintenance.
Soon, one yard just wasn’t enough. They acquired established crane companies such as Dawes and Central Contractors, and opened new branches in locations between them. This enabled the equipment to travel among branches and jobs, with closer stops for maintenance and parts as needed.
Specialized departments for aerial equipment, towers, and boom trucks were formed and moved to new locations. During the next 50+ years, the small family business grew into the ALL Family of Companies.
The founding brothers are still involved with daily operations in 2020, with second and third generations of their families now in leadership positions, supported by nearly 1,500 employees.
The ALL companies are a leader in the heavy lift industry, offering rental, sales, parts and service. The companies’ market strengths include commercial construction, roads/bridges, power generation, plants/processing, facility maintenance and more. ALL has one of the largest and most modern fleets of equipment on the continent. The company’s motto is “We’re ALL you need.®”
To read other installments in this series, follow the links below:
Note: Information for these company profiles came from company websites and other internet-based sources.