Trucking wealth drives a few fleet titans to Forbes’ annual list of billionaires

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Updated Mar 7, 2019

Forbes on Monday unveiled its annual compilation of the world’s billionaires — all 2,153 of them, worth a combined estimated sum of $8.7 trillion.

One percenters? Not hardly. Try the 0.00002 percenters — that’s the two-hundred-thousandth-percenters, based on the world’s estimated population of 7.7 billion.

Notably, a few who earned their fortunes in the trucking industry made Forbes’ list of the world’s richest, highlighted in the list below.

This round-up obviously excludes those like the roughly one-dozen Waltons (of Wal-Mart wealth), Jeff Bezos of Amazon and other retailers who operate a large fleet of trucks in a private application. It also excludes those like Carl Icahn, an investment tycoon who pops in and out of various industries (including trucking) with equity purchases, as well as those like the Kochs, whose massive interests touch a wide swath of industries. You could also lump the world’s third richest person, Warren Buffett, in with Icahn and the Kochs, given his stake in various trucking-related ventures (including Pilot Flying J and stakes in certain fleets). The list also focuses on U.S. billionaires. A few non-U.S.-based truckers could be included in Forbes’ full list. See it here.

Tom and Judy Love, Love’s Travel Stops| Estimated worth — $7 billion: Tom and Judy’s namesake Love’s truck stop empire started with a single stop in Oklahoma, which they first leased in 1964 for $5,000, according to Forbes. Love’s stops now sprawl across the country, bringing in an estimated $16 billion a year in revenue.

Fred Smith, FedEx | $4.1 Billion: Smith founded FedEx in 1971, partially funding the company in its early years with casino winnings from Las Vegas, says Forbes. The company is now one of the largest fleets in the world.

Johnelle Hunt, J.B. Hunt | $2.8 billion: J.B. Hunt Transport Services launched in 1969 by Johnelle Hunt and her late husband J.B. as an eight-truck operation, according to Forbes. Though retired from the company, Johnelle is still the company’s largest shareholder with a 17 percent stake.

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Jimmy Haslam, Pilot Flying J | $2.7 billion: Haslam, now the majority stakeholder in the NFL franchise the Cleveland Browns, began working for his father’s truck stop chain, Pilot Corporation, when he was a senior in college, when the company’s annual sales totaled about $50 million, according to Forbes. Last year, the company raked in nearly $20 billion. Haslam is transitioning out of majority ownership of Pilot Flying J, with Berkshire Hathway (Warren Buffett’s empire) scheduled to own 80 percent of the company by 2023.

Brad Jacobs, XPO Logistics | $1.7 billion: Jacobs founded XPO in 2011 as an LTL and bulk carrier, which propelled most of his worth, according to Forbes. However, prior to XPO, Jacobs ran trash hauling carrier United Waste before selling it to Waste Management for $1.9 billion and built a giant equipment rental company.

Jerry Moyes, Swift Transportation | $1.2 billion: Moyes founded Swift Transportation in 1966 as a single-truck business, alongside his father, before growing it to an eventual 20,000-truck behemoth. Though retired, Moyes still retains a 24 percent stake in the recently merged Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings.

Other noteworthy billionaires involved in trucking:

Roger Penske, Penske Corporation | $1.5 billion: Though Penske earned his wealth in a myriad of automotive-focused industries (including racing sports), Penske Truck Leasing has grown to a fleet of more than 300,000 trucks and brings in more than $8.4 billion a year in revenue.

Manuel Moroun, CenTra, Inc. | $1.9 billion: Though CenTra is a holding company with other interests, one its chief operations is as a parent company for a few trucking company subsidiaries. However, the company’s primarily known as part owner of the Ambassador Bridge — the private, tolled bridge that connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

See a billionaire we missed? Email [email protected].