Primarily a regional less-than-truckload (LTL) freight carrier, Pitt Ohio (formerly Pitt Ohio Express) operates a fleet of about 700 tractors and 1,800 trailers. (LTL carriers consolidate freight from multiple shippers into a single truckload.) It also maintains straight trucks and vans in its fleet. Pitt Ohio additionally provides truckload (TL) transportation through ECM Transport. It operates a network of about 20 terminals, primarily in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic US. Beyond freight hauling, Pitt Ohio provides specialized logistics services for shippers. The family of company president Charles Hammel III owns Pitt Ohio, which has grown from a business established by Hammel's grandfather in 1919.
Pitt Ohio has been mixin' it up. The company was originally known as Pitt Ohio Express, referring to its travel between Pittsburgh and Ohio. When it began to offer more services than just freight hauling, the company decided in 2010 to brand itself and adopt a new name -- Pitt Ohio. LTL is still the core of the company's business, but it represents less than 85% of company revenues, compared to 96% five years ago. Pitt Ohio's TL business is now generating about 15% of revenue. TL fared slightly better than LTL during the economic bust, because non-union TL carriers were able to react quicker to freight volumes that decreased, some by around 25%. Also, TL is not saddled with high fixed costs that LTL incurs for maintaining terminal network operations.
Pitt Ohio is not historically a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, but as the economy recovers, the trend toward blending logistics and transportation is on the rise, and the company recognizes that. What makes shippers seek a 3PL in the first place is usually for convenience. Given its experience through perhaps the worst recession in the trucking industry and its willingness to evolve, Pitt Ohio is moving with the times and incorporating specialized logistics services for its dedicated accounts.
To extend its service throughout the US and Canada, Pitt Ohio became a part of The Reliance Network (TRNET), a group of regional LTL carriers. TRNET, which serves all of North America, was started in 2008 and includes Lakeville Motor Express, Averitt Express, Canadian Freightways/Epic Express, DATS Trucking, and Land Air Express. TRNET was cleared in fall 2009 by the Department of Justice to bid jointly on LTL contracts as one entity. Alliances, such as TRNET are important as freight companies search for ways to boost profitability and offset losses. Pitt Ohio is also partnered with Sunline Express to extend coverage to New York City.
Probably one of the biggest reasons why Pitt Ohio weathered the Great Recession better than its competitors is because it took the time to diversify, expand its services and reach, and enter into partnerships with other regional carriers, readying itself for when the economy recovers. Along with its expansion into the world of 3PL, Pitt Ohio added Pitt Ohio Ground, a small-package service, in 2010. With DHL ceasing its air and ground services within the US in 2009, customers were seeking an alternative. Additionally, Pitt Ohio does not shun technology. It released mobile web access to customers via a Pitt Ohio app(lication) in 2009. It also offers electronic invoicing and electronic data interchange (EDI). – less