Willig Freight Line was founded in 1923 by a pioneer in California trucking. Over the next 40 years, Willig remained a modestly successful truck-load carrier that the majority of its operations stayed within the state of California. By 1965, Eric K. Anderson purchased Willig for a reported 2 million.
Anderson was a CPA, who had been the treasurer for O.N.C. for the previous 6 years. Immediately after acquiring the company, he changed the operation of the carrier, from a TL carrier to a LTL operation and began overnight service from LA to San Francisco. Over the next several years, profits increased by 20% per year.
In 1981, Willig was purchased by the London-based Transport Development Group, which almost immediately began an ambitious expansion program, First, service was expanded to the Phoenix/Tucson area in 1981. Next, new terminals were built and service was offered to Reno and Las Vegas in 1982. Finally, new terminals were built in Medford and Portland, Or and in Kent, Wa.
By 1986 revenues increased to 62.6 million a year and became one of the US’s top 100 carriers.
By 1992 Willig began to lose money, and was forced to ask their teamster employees to accept a 15% pay cut in exchange for a share of the profits. That same year, former chairman Eric K. Anderson headed a management group that repurchased the company from TDG. A San Francisco investment company lent Anderson money, but by 1994
Willig only earned 339K off of revenues of 83.8 million.
In Oct. of 1995, Willig announced that it was closing down, citing competition from non-union LTL fleets as the cause, by mid-October, Willig entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Willig was the last unionized regional LTL carrier operating in California.