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How Many Trucking Companies Are in the US? Who Are the Biggest?

Delivering or Supply concept image. Trucks loading at facility

In many ways, the trucking industry is the backbone of America, ferrying goods from one place to another. Most people probably don’t think about trucking companies too often, but it’s an interesting topic. For example, did you know there are 996,894 for-hire carriers, 813,440 private carriers, and more than 80,000 other carriers in the US?

With over 15 million trucks on the road at any given time and 2 million tractor-trailers, the trucking industry made over $875 billion in 2020 alone. The industry employs more than 3 million truck drivers and 5 million people in trucking-related roles like logistics and administration.

You might recognize a few of the biggest names in trucking, which we’ve gathered below. Let’s check those out and how much the companies have raked in recently.

Biggest Trucking Companies in the US With 2021 Revenue in USD ($):

UPS Inc: $97.3 billion
FedEx: $20.6 billion
XPO Logistics: $12.8 billion
B Hunt Transport Services Inc.: $12.2 billion
Knight-Swift Transport Services: $4.7 billion

The richest person in trucking is Tom Love, who founded the Love’s Travel Stop chain. Love and his wife Judy are worth $7 billion, ranking 209 on Forbes’s list of the world’s richest people.

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How Much Does the Trucking Industry Deliver?

About 70% of all freight goods in the US go through trucks, so it’s safe to say that our economy relies on them. As far as total value, the US trucking industry delivered goods worth $671 billion in 2021. That counts goods transported from manufacturing facilities to distribution centers, from there to stores, and so on.

Trucking is flexible in that nearly anything transported by truck is considered a freight good, which contributes to their revenue.

cargo truck
Photo Credit By: ArtisticOperations, Pixabay

Why Is the Trucking Industry Important?

Without trucking companies, companies that produce goods throughout the US wouldn’t be able to source raw materials and ship their products domestically. Virtually everything goes through a truck: lumber, stone, furniture, food, decorations, tools, engine components, electronics, and so on.

If there were no trucking companies, society would quickly break down when goods can’t get where they’re going. Farms wouldn’t be able to ship food, factories couldn’t produce and ship clothing or baby formula—you get the idea. Truck drivers are considered essential across society, and for good reason.

Are Truck Drivers Paid Well?

You may have heard that truck drivers make a good living, and it’s true in many cases, but with caveats. Truck drivers who drive cross-country, also known as over-the-road or OTR drivers, are largely the ones who rack up the money. OTR drivers are also the ones spending days and weeks away from their families while sleeping in the back of a sleeper cabin or hotel.

The average salary of a truck driver in the US ranges between $50,000 to $70,000 per year, with some drivers able to make $100,000 or more. Truck drivers are typically paid per mile, with ranges from $0.28 to $0.40 being common. Experienced drivers or owner-operators tend to make more than freshly trained drivers.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Trucking Company?

You’re probably envisioning millions of dollars, but that’s not the case. If you have a suitable truck already, you’re only looking at $10,000 to $20,000 to get started as your very own trucking company.

That’s what taxes, registrations, plates, formation documents, and other fees tend to cost, anyway. You’re looking at several thousand more for other basic gear, and that’s not getting into how to find clients.

Truck on the Highway
Photo Credit By: Ely Penner, Pixabay

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The trucking industry pumps the country full of goods, which allows the economy to function and our households to remain stocked. While the biggest company is UPS, they have some stiff competition from FedEx and others, too.

Featured Image Credit: BCFC, Shutterstock


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