ABF Freight System knows the ABCs of freight transportation. The largest subsidiary of Arkansas Best, ABF Freight System offers national and regional less-than-truckload (LTL) transportation of general commodities, such as apparel, appliances, chemicals, food, furniture, metal, plastics, and textiles. LTL carriers generally combine freight from multiple shippers into a single truckload. The company operates a fleet of more than 17,000 trailers and about 1,600 tractors from a network of some 275 terminals. It ships throughout the US and to Canada, Mexico, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Beyond its core LTL business, ABF is expanding with end-to-end supply chain management services.
Established as a small local carrier in 1923, ABF accounts for more than 90% of its parent's annual revenues. In recent years the unfavorable economic environment has adversely impacted the business activities of the company's customers, which has led to reduced tonnage levels. ABF's tonnage began declining in 2006 due to a freight recession. However, those levels have been incrementally increasing and ABF reported an 11% tonnage increase in 2010 over the prior year. Industry pricing also affects ABF's operating performance and the pricing environment typically becomes more competitive during periods of lower tonnage levels. ABF increased its rates twice in 2010 in line with other LTL carriers in order to deal with pricing pressures.
In 2012 parent Arkansas Best acquired Panther Expedited Services, which is now operating as a sister company of ABF. – less