What Is The Oldest Trucking Company?
Trucking is a much older profession than most people think. Several trucking companies in the United States are more than 100 years old, and the legacy of Canadian trucking is almost as long. Believe it or not, the oldest trucking companies still around today were formed before trucks became available. They diversified fleets of horses and early cars into trucks at the right moment, proving that innovation is key to success in the industry!
The World’s Oldest Trucking Company
The oldest carrier in the world didn’t start with a truck; it started with a horse and wagon team! What is now the Jones Motoring Group began in 1894 when John Jones, an immigrant from Wales, turned his horse and cart into a fleet. He continued expanding this fleet until purchasing the company’s first truck in 1912. Until then, most trucks were novelties, and very few companies took them seriously to do the work needed. Jones Motoring believed in it, and the company has been hauling freight in Pennsylvania ever since.
In the early days, most freight was moved around North America by trains. This meant goods could only be sent to larger city-centres, but trucks didn’t exist in enough numbers to make it a viable way of moving freight across the continent. An American company like Jones Motoring would move goods from centres out to smaller populations with horses and carts. This changed after 1910, because the improvement of gasoline-powered engines and transmissions, the creation of the gear drive, and the development of the tractor-trailer made larger vehicles more reliable. World War 1 made trucking much more necessary, and after the war, shipping was never the same. It only improved and expanded its reach with the creation of highway systems and car culture. Now, trucks carry more than 63% of the freight transported in North America!
Another Pennsylvania-based company, Mawson and Mawson, started a year after John Jones, and they’re still going, too. But these are very local companies in the United States. One of the biggest shipping companies in the world got their start as the American Messenger Co. in 1907. They began by delivering food trays from restaurants, handwritten notes between houses, and running errands for customers – sort of an early Uber prototype, but without cars. The company purchased its first motorized vehicle, a Model T, in 1913. It took on the colour brown as its signature look, and soon, the company now known as UPS was delivering parcels all over.
The Oldest Canadian Companies
When it comes to vehicles and trucking, what happens in the U.S. quickly follows suit in Canada. However, Canadian-owned and operated companies took a while to grow. The largest transport company in Canada, Montreal-based TFI International, started in 1957 as a small service based in Cabano, Quebec. It was incorporated in 1985, and after acquiring much of the local competition, became TFI in 1999.
TFI has become so big that it now owns what could be called the oldest trucking company in Canada, Canadian Freightways. Canadian Freightways was incorporated in 1935 but was acquired by TFI in 2004. It still operates under this name in Western Canada and the United States.
Despite more than a century, trucking remains as important to the economy as ever. Technological advancements and economic growth make it a necessity, and we could be talking about these companies in another hundred years, too!