The FreightWaves Haul of Fame showcases companies that have had an impact on the transportation industry, past or present.
USF Dugan was founded in Wichita, Kansas, as Dugan Truck Line in 1962. The less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier operated under that name until it was purchased by U.S. Freightways in 1988. The company then operated as USF Dugan.
Expansion under the USF banner
Nine years after its acquisition by U.S. Freightways, USF Dugan operated 57 terminals in the Midwest and Southeast in cities such as Chicago, Dallas, Memphis and Miami. USF Dugan made its own acquisition, buying Transus, Inc., which nearly doubled its size. Revenues were $180 million in 1997.
The acquisition of USF dooms USF Dugan
Yellow Roadway purchased USF Corporation and its subsidiaries in 2005 for $1.37 billion and began an aggressive restructuring effort almost immediately. The USF acquisition netted Yellow the LTL carriers USF Holland, a unionized operator, and two partly unionized operators in USF Reddaway and USF Bestway. USF Red Star was closed after a brief walkout, and after the International Brotherhood of Teamsters had started an organizing campaign at USF Dugan. USF Red Star had operated in the northeastern United States.
In late March 2006 – less than a year after completing the USF purchase – Yellow’s new regional LTL division announced the shut down of USF Dugan. In a letter to customers, Gary Pruden, chief operating officer of USF Dugan, said the decision to close the company came after a two-year strategic business review.
However, Yellow decided to close USF Dugan for at least two reasons. The carrier had been struggling and either losing money or barely remaining profitable for several years. USF Dugan was also the only non-union USF subsidiary, which had made it a target for organization attempts by the Teamsters. Yellow Roadway was unionized, so it was unlikely that USF Dugan would remain in operation.
At the time, Yellow announced that USF Dugan would stop accepting shipments, before there was an “orderly transition” of assets to other USF operations. It was also announced that approximately 3,000 USF Dugan employees would have the opportunity to work at sister companies.
When USF Dugan was closed, its business was diverted to other USF regional companies. USF Bestway’s coverage expanded to include Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma – covering part of the former USF Dugan territory. USF Bestway also acquired 20 of USF Dugan’s former terminals, while another 49 terminals were closed permanently. At its peak, USF Dugan served 22 states as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
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