TForce Freight, Inc.
  • Overnite Transportation (1935–2006)
  • UPS Freight (2006–2021)
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1935; 89 years ago (1935) in Richmond, Virginia
FounderJ. Harwood Cochrane
United States
Area served
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Canada

TForce Freight, a subsidiary of TFI International, is an American less than truckload (LTL) freight carrier based in Richmond, Virginia.[1] The company was founded in 1935 as Overnite Transportation,[2] the name it used until 2006 when it was rebranded UPS Freight by new owner UPS. Its name changed to TForce Freight in 2021 when UPS sold the company to TFI.[3]


Logo of Overnite Transportation Company

Foundation as Overnite Transportation

TForce Freight traces its history back to 1935 when J. Harwood Cochrane founded the Overnite Transportation Company. Initially, the Overnite fleet consisted of one tractor, one trailer, and one straight truck.[2] Overnite saw steady growth in its early years fueled in part by contracts with Philip Morris and R. J. Reynolds. During World War II, Overnite provided transportation for the U.S. Marine Corps.[4] The company went public in 1957 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1962.[2]

Cochrane and Overnite became known for a strong anti-union stance despite a 1959 Teamsters picketing of a number of companies in North Carolina, including Overnite. Over 1,400 employees picketed terminals in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

The Teamsters later organized a boycott of Overnite's freight by a number of other carriers prompting the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to grant Overnite temporary authorization to deliver freight outside its own routes. The boycott led Overnite to sue the Teamsters for lost business eventually winning a $900,000 judgement.[4]

Through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s Overnite grew through acquisition of smaller carriers or the assets of bankrupt competitors. In 1982, Overnite received authorization to operate in all 48 states of the contiguous US allowing it to grow outside its home market in Virginia.[4] By the mid-1980s, Overnite operated in 33 states plus Washington, D.C. primarily in the Great Lakes, Northeast, and Southeast but already had four terminals in California.[5]

Union Pacific ownership

In 1986, Cochrane sold Overnite to the Union Pacific Corporation (parent company of the Union Pacific Railroad) for $1.2 billion.[6] Cochrane remained with the company as chairman until 1990.[4]

The company had historically focused on LTL services but following the UP acquisition it began to haul truckloads as well. Specifically, on an ad hoc basis as part of final mile services for UP loads of auto parts to GM and Ford. This led to Overnite officially starting a truckload “special services” division in 1993.[7]

Overnite expanded west in 2001 with its $80 million purchase of Salt Lake City-based western regional LTL carrier, Motor Cargo Industries.[8] This gave Overnite the ability to offer national linehaul services by interlining with Motor Cargo.[9]

In 2003, Union Pacific spun Overnite off via an IPO. By this time, Overnite was a nationwide LTL carrier employing over 14,400 mostly non-union employees and operating more than 6,000 tractors and 21,000 trailers. According to Union Pacific, Overnite was profitable on revenue of $1.33 billion in 2002 having benefited from the bankruptcy of Consolidated Freightways.[10]

Independent operation

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From 2003 to 2005, Overnite Transportation operated as an independent, publicly traded company through an initial public offering of $475 million under the ticker symbol OVNT.[10][11][12]

UPS ownership as UPS Freight

UPS Freight branding proceeded slowly. Clockwise from upper left: Box truck in UPS Freight livery in 2009, tractor in Overnite livery pulling UPS Freight-branded trailer in 2013, UPS Freight truck with Motor Cargo and Overnite trailers in 2016, Motor Cargo branded box truck in 2016.

UPS acquired Overnite and its subsidiary, Motor Cargo, on August 8, 2005 for $1.25 billion.[13][14] Overnite offered LTL and truckload services nationwide and Motor Cargo operated regionally in the western US. UPS intended to integrate the two to form a single network with three services: UPS Freight LTL, UPS Freight Truckload, and Specialty Solutions (offering services like trade show, temperature-controlled freight, etc.). On April 28, 2006, Overnite Transportation officially became UPS Ground Freight Inc.[15][16]

The acquisition of Overnite was partially a way for UPS to remain competitive against its largest rival, FedEx.[17] FedEx had acquired Viking Freight, a west coast LTL carrier, as part of its 1998 purchase of Caliber System[18] and in 2001 acquired American Freightways, an east coast LTL carrier.[19] The two had been combined to create FedEx Freight in a bid to expand into the growing LTL market. This pressured UPS to respond.[17] Immediately after acquisition, the logos on the doors of the Overnite and Motor Cargo tractors were covered with signs showing the operator as UPS Freight.

In March 2006, UPS announced the rebranding of both companies' services to UPS Freight. Starting in April, some drivers started wearing UPS-branded uniforms. UPS began repainting existing tractors and purchasing new vehicles with the UPS trademark Pullman brown on the bottom, a gold line near the center of the tractor, and a gray ("reminiscent of the Overnite gray" according to UPS) for the upper color. At the time, UPS expected the rebranding to take "several years" given the fleet's size, particularly its 22,000 trailers.[15][20] New tractors for the truckload division (former Overnite Transportation – Special Services Division) were solid white with the UPS shield on the roof fairing.[citation needed]

TFI ownership as TForce Freight

In January 2021, UPS agreed to sell their freight business to Canadian rival TFI International for $800 million.[21] UPS cited as rationale its plans to move the company's focus away from the domestic trucking market towards small package delivery, which had become more profitable due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[22][23] The deal was completed in April 2021.[3] Under the purchase agreement, UPS Freight LTL operations would be independent with existing management remaining in place[24] and would be rebranded "TForce Freight." Truckload operations would be merged into TFI's existing truckload group which included Joplin, Missouri-based CFI.[25]


  1. ^ "UPS 3Q profit up 1 percent as US revenue increases". October 27, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Reiskin, Jonathan S. (26 July 2016). "Overnite Transportation Founder J. Harwood Cochrane Dies at 103". Transport Topics. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b "TFI International Completes Previously Announced UPS Freight Acquisition". Bloomberg. 2021-04-30.
  4. ^ a b c d Mall, Scott (10 March 2021). "Overnite Transportation Co. was an LTL leader". FreightWaves. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  5. ^ Yoshihara, Nancy (19 September 1986). "Union Pacific Will Acquire Overnite for $1.2 Billion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  6. ^ Reiskin, Jonathan S. (13 September 2010). "Overnite Transportation Founder Cochrane, 97, Still Consulted Frequently for His Sage Advice". Transport Topics. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  7. ^ Watson, Rip (11 March 1993). "OVERNITE TRANSPORTATION CO. LAUNCHES NEW TRUCKLOAD UNIT". JOC. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  8. ^ "Union Pacific Unit to Buy Motor Cargo". The New York Times. 2001-10-16. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  9. ^ Kilcarr, Sean (1 April 2006). "For Suggs, Overnite Success Ends with UPS Freight". Fleet Owner. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  10. ^ a b Machalaba, Daniel (5 August 2003). "Union Pacific to Spin Off Overnite Trucking Unit". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  11. ^ Wines, Leslie; Cole, August. "Overnite leaps on $1.25B UPS buy". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2023-02-02.
  12. ^ Solomon, Mark (2021-01-25). "UPS closes curtain on tough 15-year-old LTL run". FreightWaves. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  13. ^ Trunick, Perry A (June 1, 2005). "The incredible shrinking LTL industry".
  14. ^ "UPS acquisition of Overnite adds ground-freight operations". 2005-05-16. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  15. ^ a b "Overnite is rebranded as UPS Freight". Material Handling & Logistics. 7 March 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  16. ^ "Cargo.Pk: News: UPS has acquired Overnite Transportation Co". 28 May 2006.
  17. ^ a b Nguyen, Terrence (2005-05-16). "UPS to buy Overnite". Retrieved 2010-06-02.
  18. ^ NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE (7 October 1997). "FedEx to acquire Caliber for $2.4 billion Move aims to increase competition with UPS; Shipping". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  19. ^ "FedEx $950M takeover bid". CNN Money. 13 November 2000. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  20. ^ Carlozo, Lou (March 28, 2016). "The Ups and Downs of UPS". Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  21. ^ Ziobro, Jennifer Smith and Paul (2021-01-25). "UPS to Sell Freight Trucking Business to TFI for $800 Million". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  22. ^ Ziobro, Jennifer Smith and Paul (2021-01-25). "UPS to Sell Freight Trucking Business to TFI for $800 Million". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  23. ^ Ziobro, Paul (2020-07-29). "Coronavirus Shifts Pricing Power to UPS and FedEx, and They Are Using It". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  24. ^ Cannon, Jason; Jaillet, James; Cole, Matt (4 February 2021). "After 15 years and lackluster returns, UPS turns LTL venture over to another keeper". Commercial Carrier Journal. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  25. ^ Schultz, John D. (25 January 2021). "TFI International buys UPS Freight for $800 million, rebranding as "TForce Freight"". Logistics Management. Retrieved 12 August 2021.

Further reading