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J.B. Hunt Transport Services: America’s Largest Trucking Company

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Mar. 4 2016, Published 1:00 a.m. ET

Johnnie Bryan Hunt

The son of Depression-era sharecroppers from rural Arkansas, Johnnie Bryan Hunt and his wife Johnelle started J.B. Hunt Transport (JBHT) in 1961. Initially, Hunt began with five trucks and seven refrigerated trailers as a side business for his poultry feed venture.

In a span of just ten years, J.B. Hunt Transport grew exponentially to serve the entire US. The deregulation of the US trucking industry in 1980 played a pivotal role in ushering new opportunities for JBHT.

J.B. Hunt Transport’s (JBHT) continued cost-cutting exercise boosted earnings phenomenally, setting a benchmark in the industry. The company relied on purchasing Hunt’s own trucks, whereas other transport companies opted for leasing through the owner-operator model.

The company clinched a lucrative contract from Walmart (WMT) to haul its merchandise. Walmart subsequently turned into JBHT’s largest customer.

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Largest North American road transporter

Today, J.B. Hunt Transport (JBHT) is one of the largest road transport companies in North America. It provides diverse transportation services in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Also, JBHT caters to a large base of companies, including that are included in the Fortune 500 list of companies.

The company is the largest publicly held trucking company in America. The company has transportation arrangements with all major US Class I railroads such as Norfolk Southern (NSC) and BNSF Railway (BRK-B) to haul freight in trailers and containers.

J.B. Hunt Transport operates four business segments and a value chain of logistics services through third parties. The segments are:

  • Intermodal (or JBI)
  • Dedicated Contract Services (or DCS)
  • Integrated Capacity Solutions (or ICS)
  • Truck (or JBT)

ETF exposure

Transportation companies like J.B. Hunt Transport are included in the industrial sector of major ETFs. JBHT is among the top stock holdings of the iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT). IYT invests 6.76% in the company, and its total exposure to the trucking industry is 11.5%.

In the next part, we will have a quick overview of J.B. Hunt Transport Services and its revenues.

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