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Roadrunner’s LTL division slashes delivery times in multiple lanes

Roadrunner Freight, the LTL division of Roadrunner Transportation, is implementing changes in its operations that will reduce the company’s transit times in 322 lanes across 29 markets, the company said this week.

In an unusual public announcement — these sorts of changes tend not to be announced in press releases — Roadrunner Freight said the improvements in transit time will affect about 36% of the LTL carrier’s network.
Frank Hurst, the president of Roadrunner Freight, said the changes are helping to mark a reversal at Roadrunner Freight, which he conceded “kind of lost our way with service over a period of time.”

Roadrunner Freight is part of Roadrunner Transportation, which has been through a major accounting scandal and the injection of new capital and ownership by Elliott Partners. It has emerged alive from that, however, unlike Celadon, which suffered similar mismanagement and filed for bankruptcy.

Roadrunner Freight has taken a few major steps to implement these changes, Hurst said. The company has expanded its shuttle service between its service centers and regional hubs. “Historically we were known as origin consolidators,” he said. “We would consolidate at the origin and dispatch on a direct route. We will still run direct when we have the capacity to run direct.”

But if that capacity is not there, Roadrunner Freight will set up shuttles from the originating center to the regional hubs “and we’ll be able to clear freight with much faster velocity,” Hurst said.

That has aided what Hurst referred to as “our weekend advantage.”

“Some of our competitors may not run over the weekend,” he said, explaining that by focusing on that advantage, there are now different transit times depending upon what day of the week the load is picked up. Among the benefits are a reduction in the time between Chicago and Seattle. If a load is picked up Monday through Thursday, it’s a four-day transit. If it’s picked up on Friday, it’s three days, according to Hurst.

Roadrunner Freight also has invested heavily in dock automation, Hurst said. By April, all the docks in the company’s network will have the new automation in place.

Another part of the changes will be the establishment of a new hub in the Northeast. Although Hurst declined to identify the location of the new facility, he said it will be announced soon. “It will help service going into New England and the Northeast.”

The Northeast LTL market continues to be roiled by the shutdown about a year ago of New England Motor Freight.

“This is a new Roadrunner and this is very positive news,” Hurst said. “There hasn’t been that much of that in the last three years.”

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.