Trucking Industry Buoyed by Retailers with Fleets

Companies increasingly use dedicated-fleet services amid shortage of drivers.

Retailers and grocery stores are among companies increasingly using dedicated-fleet services as a shortage of drivers constrains U.S. trucking capacity while the economy heals.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and Werner Enterprises Inc. are among carriers benefiting from an “accelerating trend” that’s helping to buoy the trucking industry, according to John Larkin, managing director in Baltimore at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Dedicated-fleet services -- provided by a carrier that allocates a fleet of trucks to specific customers -- are “in vogue” because shippers want to eliminate the uncertainty related with procuring vehicles, he said.

Expanding Business

While J.B. Hunt’s dedicated-services business is expanding, growth slowed in the third quarter, when this segment accounted for 21 percent of the Lowell, Arkansas, carrier’s total operating revenue, down from 23 percent a year ago, and revenue rose 1.4 percent, compared with 7.2 percent in the first quarter of this year.

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