- Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings plans to add 20 service centers — 10 in the first half of 2024 and another 10 in the second half of the year — as it seeks to build a nationwide, in-house LTL service by the end of next year, CEO and President Dave Jackson said Wednesday on an earnings call.
- The carrier opened five new sites in late January, located in West Burlington, Iowa; Cherry Ville, Kansas; Rock Island, Illinois; Forest City, Arkansas; and Wichita Falls, Texas.
- While Knight-Swift already provides national service through interline partners, the carrier expects to fill out its national map primarily through acquisitions, Jackson said. “We expect for that map to look less super regional and more nationwide over the next two years,” he said.
Knight-Swift entered the LTL industry in 2021 with the acquisition of AAA Cooper Transportation and soon followed with the purchase of Midwest Motor Express and Midnite Express.
The carrier has been clear on its nationwide network ambitions, even before the collapse of Yellow Corp. opened up opportunities for Knight-Swift to buy 13 properties and acquire two leases in a court-supervised auction.
Since 2021, the carrier has opened 14 LTL locations, Jackson said. That’s brought its LTL service center total to around 115 with about 4,551 terminal doors, according to an earnings presentation.
“This is a multiyear plan, but it's not as far out as you might think,” Jackson said.
In addition to the 20 upcoming service center additions flagged by executives during its Q4 earnings presentation, Jackson also suggested another 10 facilities could be added, perhaps through leases.
“Those are largely gap fillers,” he said, adding that they’re supplementing a “very intentional effort” of acquisitions.
Knight-Swift’s current LTL network covers large swaths of the Southeast and Midwest, leaving significant opportunities for growth in the Northeast and Southwest.
Because of the company’s reputation and culture, Knight-Swift is poised to entice other companies with acquisition deals, said Craig Decker, a managing partner with Brown Gibbons Lang & Co.
Family companies considering a sale to a public company can be motivated by extending their generational legacy, who could be assessing how the business will continue under the new owners, Decker said.
“Also, you probably want to take some stock and some carried interest in the deal,” Decker said. “So you want to be with the best carrier. Knight is among the best transport providers out there.”