FORT SMITH, Ark. — ArcBest is celebrating its 95th anniversary this fall.
From its roots in less-than-truckload delivery, ArcBest has transformed into a full-scale provider of end-to-end supply chain services designed to help customers solve their own business challenges.
The company was formed in 1923 as OK Transfer & Storage Company, a local freight hauler based in Fort Smith.
“I’m very proud to be part of a company with a history full of innovation and excellence and an exciting future,” said Judy R. McReynolds, ArcBest chairman, president and CEO. “Our success at ArcBest has come from hiring creative problem solvers, developing great customer relationships, and going above and beyond every day.”
In the 1930s, OK Transfer bought Arkansas Motor Freight (AMF) and assumed its name. At that time, the company had 10 employees, three locations, two tractors, three trailers, one pickup truck and annual revenue of $50,000. The company continued to grow in the 1940s with acquisitions such as Lindley Truck Line, P.C. Motor Freight, Motor Express and Robertson Truck Line.
In 1951, local attorney Robert A. Young Jr. purchased AMF. In 1957, the company was renamed Arkansas-Best Freight System after its purchase of Dallas-based Best Motor Freight, which doubled the company’s size.
In 1962, the company established an IT arm now known as ArcBest Technologies, and in 1966, Arkansas Best Corp. was formed as a holding company for five subsidiaries, including less-than-truckload company ABF Freight. Acquisitions in the 1950s and 1960s included Memphis-Arkansas Express, Healzer Cartage Company, Delta Motor Lines and Bradsher Truck Service.
With its 1979 purchase of Navajo Freight Lines, the company became the ninth-largest regulated interstate motor carrier in the United States.
In the 1980s, the company survived the deregulation of the trucking industry when many others didn’t, McReynolds noted. In the 1990s and early 2000s, ArcBest expanded its offerings by providing household moving through the U-Pack brand, commercial vehicle maintenance and repair through FleetNet America, expedited solutions through the Panther Premium Logistics® acquisition, truckload through organic growth and multiple acquisitions, and international solutions through what is today ArcBest International.
In 2014, Arkansas Best Corp. was renamed ArcBest Corp., and in 2017, the company began offering most solutions under the ArcBest brand.
Today the company has 10 campuses and more than 240 service centers across North America with more than 13,000 employees ready to serve customers across the globe.
“Our ability to continually solve and grow with our customers has been a key contributor to our longevity,” McReynolds said. “It has helped us build a rich history and a powerful foundation for our future.”
For more information, visit www.arcb.com.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.