Private fleets don't haul freight for profit, but instead quietly distribute products, deliver services, keep supply chains moving, and perform other essential services for their parent businesses. Even though they operate over 6.6-million of the 8.1-million commercial trucks running on U.S. roads, private fleets are also the invisible side of the trucking industry, functioning as indispensable tools to help businesses succeed in their primary missions, rather than as profit-making businesses in their own right.

The FLEET OWNER 500, a ranking of America's top private fleets, was created to recognize the size and scope of those often under-appreciated operations. Like the first three reports, the 2007 FLEET OWNER 500 bases its rankings on total power units controlled by a fleet. We also provide a breakdown by tractors and straight trucks for each fleet, as well as information on trailers in the fleet and the parent company's business category.

For the first time since the rankings were created, total equipment numbers for the Top 500 fleets dropped. The decrease was only 2.5% compared to 2006 and seems to reflect a move to heavier, more productive equipment. While straight truck numbers decreased 4.4%, tractors operated by our Top 500 grew 8.4%. As would be expected, the trailer total also grew by a similar 6.7%. The largest shift to tractor-trailer combinations was in the food and beverage category.

Fleets at the top of the 2007 list remained relatively stabile, although this year PepsiCo has reported its various fleet operations as a single, consolidated listing, putting it at No. 3 for 2007. There was much more movement in the middle and bottom of the list, which accounted for most of the 88 companies making their first appearance in the Top 500.

Fleet Owner's FleetSeek collected the data for this report using a number of public and proprietary sources, including the FleetSeek (www.fleetseek.com) online search tool and Fleet Owner subscription records. FleetSeek then verified the data by contacting the fleets directly. The National Private Truck Council also assisted by urging members to help us update the collected information.

If you would like an electronic pdf of the 2007 Fleet Owner 500 or are interested in a database version with detailed contact information, contact Reggie Lawrence at swalsh@fleetowner.com for ordering and price information.