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40 years of carrier staying power in a boom and bust industry

40 years of carrier staying power in a boom and bust industry

The trucking industry is known for its labor challenges and rapid boom and bust cycles. When times are good and capacity is tight ⁠— like in today’s market ⁠— barriers are low for new entrants, which leads to a glut of capacity entering the market and an ultimate economic bust. 

During the month of June alone, 11,000 new trucking companies entered the industry. Often, those new entrants don’t have the business acumen to navigate the cyclical drop in rates and the financial pressures that come with maintaining a truck. The context of this volatility shines an admiring light on those companies that thrive for multiple decades in these conditions. 

Pennsylvania-based PGT Trucking Inc., is one such company, and 2021 marks its 40th year in business. In 1981, Patrick A. Gallagher established the company in Industry, Pennsylvania. Over four decades, PGT Trucking has grown into a state-of-the-art flatbed transportation company, serving the steel, building materials, machinery, oil & gas, raw materials, aluminum, and automotive industries in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

What has given PGT a competitive edge among newer industry entrants is the company’s focus on smart and strategic growth, as well as cultivating strong relationships with customers and vendors. Today, more than 1,030 drivers, maintenance teams, agents and support staff work for PGT across 30 terminal locations, keeping 1,000 power units and over 1,500 trailers on the road.

“Part of our success has been PGT’s ability to adapt and prosper in this ever-changing transportation industry,” said President Gregg Troian, who joined PGT in 1986. “In the last four decades, this sector has seen major changes to its regulations, economic highs and lows, and more recently, the addition of technology. And while many other trucking companies were not able to profit and grow, PGT has stood strong, rooted in our fundamental cornerstones of personal customer relationships, employee development, safety and profitability.”

The pandemic pushed the supply chain into the spotlight, as consumers began panic buying and shopping more exclusively online. To meet increasing demand, logistics and transportation companies needed fast data and integrative tech for real-time visibility and analytics. In 2020 alone, $52 billion of venture capital flooded into the freight and supply chain technology ecosystem, which exceeds the $32 billion invested in 2019. Rather than a nice-to-have offering, freight technology has become a necessity for transportation companies. 

Over the years, PGT has taken an innovative approach to technology, leading the industry in fleet advancements to improve driver safety and customer satisfaction, including ELDs, dashcams, automation and autonomous integration. While technology helps PGT gain efficiencies and increase asset utilization, technology  without industry expertise and strong relationships ⁠doesn’t ensure success. Strong relationships with customers, vendors and employees have been key to PGT’s staying power. 

“I am so blessed to have such a great group of drivers and employees working here at PGT, many of whom started with the company in the 1980s and are still with us today,” said Gallagher. “In an industry that struggles with high turnover rates, I feel that this is a true testament of our principles and our mission. We are in the people business, not the trucking business. It is the drivers, the leadership, the support staff and the truck maintenance teams who have all contributed to the success of this organization over the last 40 years.”

Regardless of the low barrier entry for the new trucking companies, once they enter the industry, they face high fuel and labor costs, driver turnover, a restrictive regulatory environment and the threat of nuclear verdicts should a driver have an accident.  PGT’s 40 years of business is a feat ⁠— one that new companies can study. 

“PGT has always been about people; the employees and the customers, and building those relationships on trust, respect and loyalty,” said Gallagher. “Trucking is a tough industry, but we are going to continue to grow, rooted in our fundamental cornerstones of personal customer relationships, employee development, safety and profitability.”

With such a focus on its people, ⁠drivers seeking new employment can find tremendous value in PGT’s industry longevity and commitment to employee development. For more information, please click here.


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19 August 2021, 16:00