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C.H. Robinson

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


C.H. Robinson
Trucking Company

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Official Site: chrobinson.com
Wikipedia: C.H. Robinson

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A trucking company founded 11 April 1905 as a wholesale brokerage house with Charles Henry Robinson in partnership with the Nash Finch brothers. In 1968 it entered the trucking business.


The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's C.H. Robinson page on 4 July 2018, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

C.H. Robinson is a Fortune 500 provider of multimodal transportation services and third-party logistics (3PL). The company offers freight transportation, transportation management, brokerage and warehousing. It offers truckload, less than truckload, air freight, intermodal, and ocean transportation.

In the early 1900s, Charles Henry Robinson owned a small wholesale brokerage house that provided produce throughout North Dakota and Minnesota. He partnered with the Nash Finch brothers on April 11, 1905, and became the company’s first president. Nash Finch Company was the leading wholesaler in the region, owning and operating grocery stores. Following Charles Henry Robinson’s death in 1909, the Nash Brothers assumed control of the C.H. Robinson Company.

C.H. Robinson became the procurement arm for Nash Finch Company as it rapidly expanded in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Texas. In the 1940s, the FTC found Nash Finch Company to have a price advantage, and under the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, C.H. Robinson Co. was split into two companies. The first, C.H. Robinson Co., was formed by the offices that sold produce to Nash Finch’s warehouses, and ownership was retained by C.H. Robinson employees. The second company, C.H. Robinson, Inc., was still owned by Nash Finch.

Expansion into logistics and trucking

C.H. Robinson’s entry into the trucking business came after the Federal Highway Act of 1956 expanded interstate commerce and the roadways of America. C.H. Robinson and other shippers had previously relied on trains to transport goods. In 1968, the firm entered the regulated truck business as a contract carrier named Meat Packers Express based in Omaha, Nebraska. Robco Transportation Inc. was formed by merging Meat Packers Express with additional carriers three years later and was sold in 1986.

In the mid-1960s, C.H. Robinson Co. and C.H. Robinson, Inc., consolidated their operations under the name C.H. Robinson Co. Nash Finch still held a 25% stake in the brokerage company, with C.H. Robinson employees owning the remainder. By 1976, the Nash Finch shares had been bought out and the company was 100% employee owned. C.H. Robinson focused on using emerging technology, and adopted IBM mainframes in 1979.

The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 deregulated transportation industries in America and increased competition for logistics providers and shippers. C.H. Robinson created a contract carrier program, expanded its freight contract operations, and established itself as a middleman sourcing operation for virtually all shippable goods. The company’s average annual growth, measured by truckloads, doubled and C.H. Robinson posted more than $700 million in sale within five years. Forty per cent was generated by truck brokerage, with the remainder of revenue coming from produce sales.

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2 June 2016Women In Trucking Association Announces C.H. Robinson’s Continued Support as a Silver Level PartnerWomen In Trucking Association

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