When Roadway Express celebrated its 50th anniversary back in 1980, the trucking industry was on the brink of upheaval. That was the year in which Congress deregulated the trucking business. And in the decades that followed, carriers both large and small fell by the wayside. Roadway, in fact, is one of the few large carriers still in business today. And it's not only still in business, it's apparently thriving. As the carrier celebrates its 75th anniversary—albeit as part of a larger corporation—Roadway can lay claim to being one of the largest less-than-truckload carriers in the nation.
The company was founded in 1930 by Galen and Carroll Roush in Akron, Ohio, where the company still maintains its corporate headquarters. Then a truckload carrier, it began its shift toward less-than-truckload in 1933. But it wasn't until 1945 that Roadway began to move away from using owner/operators to a company-owned fleet—a process that took 12 years.
The company first linked all of its operations with computers in 1967. In the mid-70s, the company began to replace its fleet of 42-foot trailers with the newer 45-foot models. In the early '80s, in response to deregulation, Roadway formed a holding company and entered other parts of the transportation business, including parcel shipping. The LTL carrier spun off in 1996, forming Roadway Express. In 2003, Roadway was acquired by Yellow Corp. and became part of the newly formed Yellow Roadway Corp.