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FreightWaves Classics: Trucking companies range from A to Z (Part 6)

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, 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.

Between now and early 2021, FreightWaves Classics and the FreightWaves Haul of Fame will highlight a number of these American trucking companies, and will continue to do so over time. FreightWaves Classics will also feature the photography of Jim Allen, who shoots, supplies and/or finds the majority of the photographs used on

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!

A B&B Trucking tractor-trailer hauls mail for the U.S. Postal Service. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

B&B Trucking, Inc. 

A family-owned-and-operated company, B&B Trucking, Inc. was founded by Robert D. Keller in 1969. Based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the company has transported U.S. mail for over 50 years. Today, B&B employs over 300 drivers and 50 support team members.

B&B Trucking has earned a solid reputation as a long-haul transportation carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. Some of the company’s statistics are very impressive:

  • Over 32,313,000 miles driven
  • 123 trucks in the B&B fleet
  • 85,000 trailers of mail delivered

The company has been recognized as one of the Top 3 Green Fleets in the nation. Among the actions B&B Trucking takes to reach that milestone are enhancing each truck with anti-idling devices and using synthetic lubricants, crossover tire pressure balancers, trailer-tire pressure inflation systems, and more. Its drivers strive for fuel efficiency with each load of freight. 

A Barr-Nunn tractor-trailer in operation. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Barr-Nunn Transportation  

Started in 1982, Barr-Nunn is a dry van truckload carrier operating about 550 tractors and about 1,860 trailers. In 2014, Barr-Nunn was acquired by Knight Transportation (of Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc.). Barr-Nunn continues to operate as an independent subsidiary of Knight.

Barr-Nunn provides dry van truckload transportation services from its headquarters in Grainger, Iowa, which is near Des Moines. It has leased facilities in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The company’s primary operating territory is the eastern United States. 

The company has a strong niche in the expedited and service-sensitive marketplace. It ships for manufacturers and users of consumer products, paper products, food products and ingredients, plastic and rubber, building materials, appliances, hardware, castings, animal feeds and a host of other products. 

At the time of the acquisition, Kevin P. Knight, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Knight Transportation, stated, ”Bob and Jane Sturgeon, together with their experienced and talented team, have built a unique and highly profitable business centered around drivers, customers, safety and efficiency. From the very first conversation, the entire Barr-Nunn team has demonstrated integrity, excellence and class, and we thank Bob, Jane and the team for placing their trust in us.”

In response, Jane Sturgeon, Chief Executive Officer of Barr-Nunn Transportation, said,  ”When Bob and I first discussed selling, we made it clear that the future of our people and the cultural fit would determine whether we would entertain any discussions. Although they did not know it at the time, Knight was our number one choice for a buyer because of its pursuit of excellence, commitment to a career path for employees, and support of regional management teams strongly aligned with our goals.”

A Bashas’ truck moves across Arizona, delivering to one its 100+ stores in the state. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)


Bashas’ Family of Stores is a family-owned and operated grocer in Arizona that was founded in 1932 when brothers Ike and Eddie Basha, Sr. opened the first Bashas’ grocery store. 

A great deal has changed over the decades since Bashas’ beginning. The company has acquired, developed and expanded its other grocery formats (Bashas’ Diné, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods and Eddie’s Country Store).

With more than 100 stores across Arizona, Bashas’ is one of the state’s largest employers. Since its inception, the company has given back more than $100 million to the communities it serves.

A photo from the Basse Truck Line Inc. archives. (Photo: Basse Truck Line Inc.)

Basse Truck Line Inc.

Basse Truck Line Inc. is based in San Antonio, Texas. The company was founded in 1929 and has hauled for customers involved in commercial construction, building and highway development needs, large-scale projects and much more. 

Basse specialized in commercial and industrial transportation. It offers a wide range of transportation options, including heavy equipment and large, oversized loads. 

A Batesville tractor-trailer hauls a load of funeral-related supplies. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)


The Batesville Coffin Company was established in 1884. In 1906, John A. Hillenbrand purchased the company and changed its name to Batesville Casket Company. In 2013 the name was changed again to Batesville, reflecting the company’s commitment to complete funeral solutions

Batesville Casket Company was originally known for its excellent craftsmanship of wooden caskets. Over the decades, Batesville has expanded its products and solutions to meet the evolving needs of families and funeral professionals.

Batesville has been rated first in product quality, service and innovation for four years in a row by funeral professionals, according to Funeral Service Insider.

Batesville’s legacy of manufacturing excellence is also noted by experts outside of funeral service. All of the company’s facilities have been recognized as winners or finalists in the Industry Week Best Plants of North America competition, alongside some of the world’s leading automotive, defense, medical, electronics, and other industrial manufacturers. Batesville is the only casket company to achieve this status, and one of only a few companies that has multiple, repeat wins.

A Bay & Bay truck on the highway. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Bay & Bay Transportation

Bay & Bay is a family-owned trucking and logistics company that has been delivering high quality transportation solutions since 1941. Headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota, in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Bay & Bay offers nationwide transportation solutions. It is a multi-modal service provider.

Bay & Bay was named as a 2020 TCA Fleet Safety Award Winner.

A Baylor Trucking tractor-trailer. The trailer carries a special message for these times. (Photo: Baylor Trucking)

Baylor Trucking

Baylor Trucking is headquartered in Milan, Indiana. For more than 75 years the company has been “Driving America Forward.”

It specializes in long-term drop and hook customer freight, and has four trailers for each truck. Baylor Trucking has assigned routes with consistent loops. It also transports long-haul freight to the Southwest, as well as making regional runs.

Rolling down the highway, this Bay Transport, Inc. tractor-trailer eats up the miles. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Bay Transport, Inc.

Based in Auburn, Michigan, Bay Transport, Inc. has nationwide and Canadian capacity. The company offers truckload, LTL, rail and air options to its customers. Its services include dedicated trucking, local delivery services, warehousing solutions, cross-docking and logistical management.

Bay Transport is a family-owned trucking company that was formed at the beginning of the century. It started with one truck and grew rapidly to become one of Michigan’s finest transportation companies. Its trucking company logo is “Moving Our Customers to Success.”

To read earlier installments of the series, please follow these links:

There are more profiles to come as FreightWaves salutes the American trucking industry and all those who work to keep products moving!

Merry Christmas from the staff at FreightWaves!

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes Knight-Swift Transportation (No. 3), Barr-Nunn Transportation (No. 131) and Baylor Trucking (No. 401).

Scott Mall

Scott Mall serves as Managing Editor of FreightWaves Classics. He writes articles for the website, edits the SONAR Daily Watch series, marketing material for FreightWaves and a variety of FreightWaves special projects. Mall’s career spans 45 years in public relations, marketing and communications for Fortune 500 corporations, international non-profits, public relations agencies and government agencies.