The History of Admiral Merchants


Admiral Merchants is the result of the integration of three old-line trucking firms in the 1960s. Bob Short, a Minneapolis-based transportation proprietor, professional sports and real estate entrepreneur, purchased Merchants Motor Freight and later Jack Cole/Dixie Highway Express. He merged them with his Admiral Transit to form a transportation company which provided LTL service from a system of warehouses covering the entire eastern half of the United States.

Short joined the Navy shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor and served on the aircraft carrier Intrepid in the Pacific theater. He completed his service in the Navy after the war, serving as a legislative officer in Washington, DC. While in the Navy, he attended Georgetown University Law School and obtained his law degree in 1947.

After his discharge from military service, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and later for the District of Minnesota. He left the United States Attorney's Office in 1950, purchasing a 50% interest in Mueller Transportation Company, a Twin Cities to Chicago LTL carrier.

Following Mueller's merger with several smaller LTL carriers, the name was changed to Admiral Transit. In 1961, Short acquired Merchants Motor Freight and merged its operations into Admiral Transit, changing the name to Admiral Merchants Motor Freight, Inc. Finally, in 1967, Short purchased Jack Cole/Dixie Highway Express Company of Birmingham, Alabama. With that acquisition, the Admiral Merchants service area stretched from Denver to New York and Duluth, Minnesota to New Orleans.

In 1972, Admiral Merchants opened a truckload special commodities division, specializing in the steel industry.

In addition to his transportation interests, Short owned the Minneapolis Lakers and the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, and the Washington Senators and Texas Rangers of the Major League Baseball's American League.

With the coming of deregulation in 1980, Admiral Merchants focused all of its effort in the truckload special commodities market. Now, Admiral Merchants provides superior transportation services throughout the United States and Canada using a system of over 1200 pieces of equipment and over 300 strategically located sales agents. This flexible business model has proved highly successful with revenue growth averaging 20% per year. In addition, hundreds of customers, both large and small, indicate great satisfaction with the service received from Admiral Merchants Motor Freight, Inc.


Strategic Profile

Vision Statement

We are transportation professionals delivering excellent service to our business partners and their customers. Admiral Merchants. A place of opportunity.

Core Values

Every person who works at Admiral Merchants Motor Freight is an important member of the team, empowered with the tools and training necessary to make decisions within the scope of his/her responsibilities.

We will operate in such a manner as to retain our reputation as a company that does what it says. We value integrity and honesty and expect all who we work with to share these values.

We develop quality relationships with our partners to achieve our long-term success.

We strive for operational excellence to keep our costs low and provide a fair return to our partners and shareholders.

We exist for our Agent and Driver partners. We listen to them and meet their needs with superior service. In return, we expect our Agent and Driver partners to understand our needs and work in partnership with us to help us achieve our long-term goals.

In order to protect our Drivers and the traveling public, and ensure shipper satisfaction, we emphasize safety and compliance with all of our Agent and Driver partners.

Mission Statement

Our transportation professionals achieve long-term financial success by providing our customers with the best total solution to their transportation needs. We accomplish this by ensuring that our work processes are efficient, thus enabling us to deliver excellent services. Through collaborating with our partners, we help them prosper, and in the process provide rewarding careers for our employees and deliver increased value for our shareholders.