Much like the overall economy, status quo is the overriding theme for our 10th annual Fleet Owner 500 ranking of the top private fleets in the U.S. Just like America’s sputtering economic growth in 2012, there’s little change from last year in the rankings and equipment totals among the country’s largest private fleets.
Last year our top 500 fleets, which are ranked by the number of power units they control, operated just under 1.18 million tractors and trucks. In our 2013 list, that total just exceeds 1.18 million. The number of tractors among the top 500 is essentially the same, while the total for straight trucks grew less than 10,000 units. The trailer count, which does not figure in the rankings, is also flat.
As you look through the following charts, you’ll see little change among the rankings, especially among the largest fleets. Last year’s top 10 remain in that category, and among the top 25 there are only two new names, both moving up the rankings due to major business acquisitions in 2012.
The Fleet Owner 500 is compiled by our sister operation, FleetSeek, which starts with a broad range of public and proprietary sources, then verifies and updates that information through electronic, print and telephone follow-ups. Since the information collected for each annual top 500 report is essentially new, year-to-year comparisons are best used to identify trends rather than draw exact comparisons.
This year the only significant differences you’ll find throughout the rankings are from some consolidations, as well as a few high-profile business developments. For example, Advanced Disposal Services quadrupled its fleet size and rose to number 78 this year after its acquisition of Veolia Waste Businesses and Interstate Waste Services. And Progressive Waste Solutions (116) breaks into the top five among the sanitation companies after its aggressive acquisition campaign among smaller waste haulers.
Among shifting business fortunes, Hostess Brands, last year’s number 27 among the top 500, fell off the list after suffering a highly publicized bankruptcy, while industry competitor Bimbo Bakeries jumped all the way from 91 to 24 after its acquisition of Sara Lee’s bakery division (ranked 56 last year).
Reflecting energy production’s position as one of the economy’s bright spots, companies in the Petroleum/Gas business category also saw some major shifts in size due to acquisitions. AmeriGas doubled its equipment total and became the largest private fleet in that group at number 17 after its acquisition of Heritage Propane. AGL Resources, Suburban Propane, and Superior Energy Services also moved up.
As in past years, we close the Fleet Owner 500 with charts that provide equipment totals for private fleets in nine general business categories. We’ve also identified the top five company fleets within each category, as well as the top 10 tractor and top 10 straight truck private fleets in the country.
In addition to this print version, you can find the 2013 Fleet Owner 500 rankings on our website (fleetowner.com). Reprints are also available, as is a database version with more detailed fleet information.