October 8, 2015
Dedicated fleets are surging to new levels of utilization, efficiency and performance. Higher utilization is being driven by both shippers and carriers. Shippers are concerned about access to low cost capacity and carriers see dedicated fleets as one of their best options for attracting and retaining drivers. Shippers’ shifting volume from private fleets and common carriers to dedicated fleets not only lock-in capacity in a tightening market, but gain access to more fleet options than ever before. Today’s dedicated fleets offer more equipment options, operational excellence, access to technology and pricing flexibility than the traditional dedicated fleet offerings of years past.

A shipper that is not familiar with dedicated fleets or has not been using them over the past few years will be surprised at the number of carriers and other providers that are now offering dedicated fleet services. In addition to the traditional common carriers with dedicated fleet divisions, today there are dedicated fleet specialists, many of whom focus on specific industries. Several third party logistics (3PL) providers also offer dedicated fleets as a part of their service offerings.

September 18, 2015
Transplace isn’t buying into the idea that assets are critical for freight transport service. WSJ Logistics Report’s Loretta Chao writes that the Texas-based shipping services business completed its fifth acquisition in five years, a purchase of niche provider M33 Integrated. Tom Sanderson, Transplace’s chief executive, says the company plans to stay on that schedule as it builds business in new shipping market. But Sanderson says freight broker XPO Logistics Inc.’s recent acquisition of trucker Con-way Inc. won’t push Transplace off the non-asset-based path. Says Sanderson, We don’t buy trucks, trailers and hard assets. We’re buying revenue, earnings, and talent.”

September 17, 2015
Transportation management firm Transplace said Thursday it has acquired another third-party logistics provider, M33 Integrated, completing its fifth deal in five years.

Owned by Greenbriar Equity Group LLC, Frisco, Texas-based Transplace is one of the largest freight brokers in North America and provides other supply chain services, including cloud-based transportation management software. M33 provides specializes in the packaging, chemical and advanced materials sectors of transportation management services.

The deal would enable Transplace to add a portfolio of 60 to 70 clients to Transplace’s technology platform, said Tom Sanderson, the company’s chief executive, and adds 165 employees in Greensboro, N.C., a “key operating center that is a great place to recruit talent.”

He declined to disclose the value of the deal. Transplace generates over $1.6 billion in annual revenue.

The acquisition is the latest in a flurry of consolidation activity in the logistics arena in recent years, including an announcement last week that XPO Logistics Inc. would buy trucker Con-way Inc. for $3 billion. That deal represented a departure from the asset-light strategies that most freight brokers employ, prompting speculation that others would follow.

Transplace is looking to continue acquiring about one company per year, but Mr. Sanderson said he plans to stick to asset-light targets. “XPO has a very bold strategy. It isn’t common for companies that are non-asset-based to buy asset-based companies,” he said. But “we are a non-asset based company. We don’t buy trucks, trailers and hard assets. We’re buying revenue, earnings, and talent.”

“When you have a chance to pick up a base of customers and talent through acquisition, that’s an excellent way to grow,” he said. “Interest rates are extremely low right now, that makes acquisitions even more attractive in terms of increasing the equity value of Transplace.”

August 31, 2015
Howard Abramson's Aug. 21 op-ed in the New York Times grossly mischaracterized the current state of highway safety. Bill Graves, American Trucking Associations' president and CEO, provided an excellent rebuttal. I echo Bill's sentiments regarding the rollback of the restart provisions of the hours of service rules that had pushed more trucks onto the highways in morning rush hour and Abramson's spurious claim of ATA promoting 82-hour work weeks. Bill also correctly points out the industry's push for electronic logs, speed limiters and other advances in truck safety. I also want to take issue with Abramson's selective use of highway safety data.

August 28, 2015
Still, many shippers haven’t had as much difficulty finding drivers as they had feared, and that may prove true again, said Ben Cubitt, senior vice president for consulting and engineering at Transplace, a Dallas-based logistics provider.

“Capacity is pretty good right now. We keep expecting it to change but it hasn’t,” Mr. Cubitt said.

Mr. Cubitt said contract price gains appear to be limited to major routes where shippers with big freight volumes depend on the biggest trucking companies. Capacity tends to be tighter on these routes, which are dominated by larger carriers.