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162 transportation and logistics companies make the 2018 Inc. 5000

Graphic of where the transportation and logistics companies are clustered nationwide.  (Image: Inc.)

The fastest-growing companies in America are a force, notching collective revenue of more than $206.2 billion in 2017 and three-year revenue growth rates that top out at 75,661%, according to Inc. 5000’s latest report. In order to make the list a company has to have been in business for at least four years.

The 37th annual Inc. 5000 list is the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

Not only have the companies on the 2018 Inc. 5000 been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists. The 2018 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 538.2%, and a median rate of 171.8%. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $206.1 billion in 2017, accounting for 664,095 jobs over the past three years.  

“If your company is on the Inc. 5000, it’s unparalleled recognition of your years of hard work and sacrifice,” says Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “The lines of business may come and go, or come and stay. What doesn’t change is the way entrepreneurs create and accelerate the forces that shape our lives.”

If you’re obsessed with growth, you’ll love the report. If you’re obsessed with logistics and the movement of freight, you’ll love the news even more. A total of 162 companies in the Logistics and Transportation industry made this year’s list.

“The entire Edge family is honored to be included, and to place in the top 50 in the USA and top 3 in Chicago is a dream come true,” says William Kerr, president of Edge Logistics. “It is an exciting time here at Edge, as well as in the transportation industry as a whole. There are new ideas flowing, new technology emerging, and opportunity for growth everywhere we look. We have to give most of the credit to our outstanding carriers, who day in and day out pick up and deliver on time, without all of them we would never be able to grow like we have.”

“Also, we were 5 in transportation and logistics, but number 1 out of people who move domestic freight,” adds Kerr. “And we’re hiring!”

Based in the heart of Freight Alley, Chattanooga-based companies are exploding, and also making headway on the list. According to a freight study by Cambridge Systematics, Chattanooga ranks No. 1 of all metropolitan cities when it comes to freight movement. The Thrive 2055 study, commissioned by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Transportation Planning Organization, found that approximately 80% of all the nation’s freight travels through Chattanooga on its way to its final destination.

A number of Chattanooga-based companies have made the list. Some are repeat “offenders,” and one that just qualified after four years of being in business. The ones with highest growth in Chattanooga were Trident (400), Lync America (415), and Logistics Made Simple (1412). 

“We are honored to be included on the Inc. 5000 list and being ranked in the top 500 is a testament to the strategic growth of our company over the past three years,” said Lync America President, Cynthia Lee. “Our success is directly attributed to our employees. We are proud of the team we have assembled and, through their hard work, we are positioned for continued growth and success.”  

Lync America provides truckload, LTL, refrigerated, and specialized transportation services using their own operated assets or through a growing network of local, regional, and national carriers.

“We’re happy with it,” Brent Goldberg, Lync America’s executive VP and CFO, tells FreightWaves. “We’ll be higher next year, but today’s a good day for Freight Alley.”

“We’ve been very strategic with how we’ve grown,” says Goldberg. “We have less brokers than some of our competition. We do it a little different. We’ve had a one-point, single contact model. Our brokers handle every single aspect of every single load. They handle sales, customer service, carrier procurement, and load tracking for every single load. Our structure is simple and easy to understand. Our brokers know exactly what they need to do to meet their goals.”

Reliance Partners insures 16 different logistics companies who made the 5000 list. Of those, the majority are based in the Chattanooga and Chicago areas. Although Reliance continues to grow, their ranking fell from 461 last year to 591 this year.

“It’s tougher and tougher as you get bigger. We’ve been very fortunate with the trucking companies and the freight brokers we’ve been working for, because the companies we’ve been working for have really been growing,” says president and COO, Chad Eichelberger.

“This is a great day for Freight Alley, and probably even a larger for freight brokerages. An unbelievable amount of guys in the area have started freight brokerages in the area. It’s just great. We’re very excited,” says Eichelberger.

“We grew from $13.5M (2016) to $19.5M (2017). This year we should hit $28M,” Steven Cox, COO of Steam Logistics, tells FreightWaves. “Being the only freight forwarder in Chattanooga is an odd thing when there are more 3PL domestic brokers per capita than any city in America! The barriers to entering the international market are just too big. We feel like we are poised to absolutely blow up over the next 5 years.”

“With all the explosive growth here in Chattanooga pertaining to transportation, competition for talent is going to really heat up. I believe there isn’t going to be anywhere in the US with the amount of trained logistics talent we have here in Chattanooga. Large national 3PL’s coming in and starting offices here is proving that,” adds Cox.

For a complete list of all the Logistics and Transportation Inc. 5000 winners click here.

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