Knight-Swift Transportation (NYSE: KNX) celebrated the opening of its Knight-Swift East Valley Logistics and Technology Center on Nov. 22. About 100 people from the company, including Knight-Swift leadership, attended the event, and officials said that employees were excited about the growth that the building symbolized.
The office houses a freight brokerage operation staffed by a combination of Knight Logistics and Swift Logistics personnel, as well as a team building technology for the entire logistics segment of Knight-Swift.
The office, across the Phoenix metropolitan area from Knight-Swift headquarters, is strategically located near Arizona State University, where the company expects to find some of the talent to fill the new space. One recent hire, a young supply chain major from Arizona State University, chose to work in the new office because of its location and the short commute it offered. Knight-Swift officials estimated there were between 30 and 40 people working in the center now, but that it had room for "north of 225" employees.
"What I think this means for us is that you have a combined entity with over 80 years of trucking experience, and you can see the willingness to continue to commit to growth regardless of the short-term environment because companies like us are built for the long haul," said Shannon Breen, senior vice president of Logistics and Intermodal.
The East Valley location represents Knight-Swift Logistics' first foray into a combined office setting, but Don Everhart, director of technology and analytics at Swift Logistics, said that the two brands would remain distinct. When market conditions call for it, though, Knight-Swift will shift buying power — or carrier reps — from one side to the other to help source capacity.
"The brands are intact, but the space ends up shared," said Lars Ward, director of sales at Swift Logistics.
Everhart added, "Not in account management, where you're committed to a brand, but carrier-facing operations can be more brand-agnostic."
It's been about 27 months since Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation combined in a mega-merger to form Knight-Swift, and the new entity has been committed to maintaining its distinct brand identities. But logistics and technology have been areas in which Knight-Swift folks have collaborated across brands, officials from the company said.
Knight-Swift's freight brokers unabashedly work in the service of the company's vast fleet of assets, Ward said.
"We serve as a growth engine and a support engine, strategically, and we make no bones about it: America's largest truck fleet is priority number one," Ward said.
Knight-Swift ran just over 19,000 tractors in 2018, according to Transport Topics. In the third quarter of 2019, Knight-Swift said its logistics segment brought in $392 million of gross revenues over the trailing 12-month period.
KNX's logistics division offers dry van, refrigerated, intermodal, flatbed, expedited, drayage and power only. Everhart said that Knight-Swift was hiring full stack developers, data scientists and distributed systems engineers as well as brokers.
"We've very excited about some creative things coming up that we can deploy in the market," Ward said.
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