Piece of a Puzzle
Paramount Freight Systems jumps into the small carrier scene in award-winning fashion
By James Jaillet
A trucking company with no trucks is an apt description of the former intermediary, now nearly completely independent-contractor Paramount Freight Systems.
Its situation hasn’t held it back, though, and the all-owner-operator model has allowed it to make bids and acquire new customers, says company director Trent Dye, who’s been developing the small carrier since its 2008 start.
Its structure also hasn’t stopped the firm from meeting driver needs and expectations — the Truckload Carriers Association named Paramount the Best Fleet to Drive For in the owner-operator category.
R+L Carriers spawned Paramount as a means to run terminal to terminal, Dye says, but the upstart grew, started looking for teams and eventually “just splintered off and started finding our own customers,” he says.
“There was a niche for us with some other customers and with their needs,” Dye says, referring to full truckload needs rather than R+L’s less-than-truckload freight.
Paramount has 90 tractors leased to it and more than 130 operators, 38 of which run team. All of its drivers are double hazmat certified and the carrier pulls many hazmat loads, Dye says. The carrier hauls mostly dry freight and an occasional load of refrigerated goods in the U.S. and into Ontario and Quebec in Canada.
“We started small,” Dye says. “We had a small office in Bloomington, Ohio, where R+L is based, and we started running ads and billboards for owner-operators. Now we’ve got over 20 office employees and over 130 drivers.”
Dye says the company’s owner-operator model has allowed it to win business with companies such as Coke, UPS and Tropicana. “Our customers usually only require a power unit, and that’s what we provide,” he says. “We can take these bids and recruit quickly in different regions around the country.”
They still tie in to R+L network freight, too, helping it secure return loads on one-way hauls. “It’s been a fun puzzle to put together,” Dye says.
Paramount solo drivers average about 2,800 miles per week, Dye says, and teams drive about 6,000. “For 98 percent of them, it’s a Monday through Friday type operation,” he says. “They get paid on all miles, not just miles with a load, and a fuel surcharge that’s close to the national average each week.”