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Western Express

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LAST UPDATED: September 3rd, 2020

Western Express, Inc. was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Nashville with seven terminals and other facilities throughout the United States. It is a large tier industry truckload carrier. Its fleet comprises over 3,000 power units and over 7,500 trailers, one of the largest van and flatbed fleets (combined) in the United States. 

In line with other trucking companies of its size, Western Express provides dry van, flatbed, dedicated fleet, limited logistics, and expedited truck and rail options to its customers. Customers should be aware that Western Express focuses its long haul and short haul runs primarily east of the Mississippi and west of the Rocky Mountains. 

As is fairly standard today, Western Express is fully EDI capable and offers web-based viewing of invoice and proof of delivery documentation to assist companies with supply chain tracking. This is critical to delivering on customers’ expectations of a smooth, fast, and trackable shipping experience. Western Express is also able to supply additional capacity during unexpected volume surges. 

Deciding whether to maintain a private trucking fleet or outsource to a company like Western Express can be a difficult decision for many companies. A private fleet allows a business flexibility and control of the shipping process; however, they can be expensive to maintain and difficult to scale up when fleet augmentation is needed due to surges. Western Express stands out with its fleet augmentation services and ability to assist companies in evaluating all factors to determine the optimal decision to own vs. lease vs. outsource a company’s private fleet transportation.

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The Good

  • Solid Ratings
  • 100% GPS Trackable
  • Lower Fleet Average Age

Solid Ratings

Western Express has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This indicates the BBB expresses a level of confidence in its business trustworthiness. It also maintains a satisfactory safety rating with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This is a critical rating; however, the FMCSA points out that it uses a pass/fail system to complete these ratings. Unless a motor carrier has received an unsatisfactory rating or been ordered to cease operations, it is authorized to operate on U.S. roadways. Essentially, it is a good sign for potential customers that Western Express has a satisfactory FMCSA rating, but this is a standard requirement for any trucking company if they wish to operate legally on U.S. roadways. 

100% GPS Trackable

Businesses need the ability to track shipments in real time in order to maintain supply chain integrity and customer satisfaction. Western Express provides customers the ability to track their shipments with GPS in real time. It hosts a freight tracking platform on its website. 

Lower Fleet Average Age

The average age of trucking fleets has been increasing steadily. In 2008, the average age of commercial trucks in the U.S. was 12.8 years, and in 2018 that rose to 14.2 years. Older trucking fleets are potentially prone to shipping delays due to breakdowns and needed repairs. Western Express has 1,550 van tractors with an average fleet age of 24–28 months. This is on par with companies with similar fleet sizes.

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The Bad

  • Lacks Specialty Shipping Accommodations
  • Does Not Operate in Canada
  • Limited Logistics Tech

Lacks Specialty Shipping Accommodations

Many of Western Express’ competitors offer clients additional shipping services such as refrigerated, expedited refrigerated, and other temp-controlled options for temperature sensitive freight. They may also offer clients cold storage and warehousing services. Competitors also offer hazmat-endorsed teams to transport hazardous materials. 

Does Not Operate in Canada

Some of its competitors operate in Canada as well as the United States. This can be helpful to many businesses that ship to customers throughout North America.

Limited Logistics Tech

There is growing interest in digital freight matching platforms. Due to supply chain volatility and economy in light of COVID-19, it makes sense that businesses are looking for abundant and secure sources of capacity that can be tracked digitally. Businesses want to find the right truck. Digital freight matching platforms allow carriers greater transparency in load availability and greater efficiency. Western Express does not appear to have invested heavily in technology such as digital freight matching platforms. It also does not offer the wide array of logistics technology solutions that some of its competitors do. This could be limiting for businesses looking for more extensive supply chain management or other solutions.

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The Bottom Line

Western Express is a large tier industry truckload carrier that provides dry van, flatbed, dedicated fleet, limited logistics, and expedited truck and rail options to its customers. It can offer you a large fleet size and many years of experience in the trucking business. If you are looking to ship with a company that prioritizes a newer fleet age and employee safety, Western Express would be a great fit. It also has experience providing solutions to customers seeking fleet augmentation or that are making the switch to outsourcing their shipping and logistics needs. 

You will need to verify that Western Express’s runs and terminal locations will optimally serve your business shipping needs. While it says that its fleet services the entire United States, it also says that its focus is primarily east of the Mississippi and west of the Rocky Mountains. 

If you are looking for more complex logistics and supply chain solutions or tracking, we suggest that you consider other companies that offer more robust technology options. 

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