The less-than-truckload ‘oligopoly’ drives on - FreightWaves
This article pretty much nails it. Here we have today's LTL market in “a state of limited competition, in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers”.
This shows the differences in rates/wages between OTR and LTL. In OTR, anyone with a little capital and somewhat decent credit can buy a truck and become a competitor. In LTL, the great recession knocked alot of companies out of the box and they never came back. Recently, NEMF shut their doors and who replaced them? Nobody. The freight they were hauling got distributed among the remaining players, making them stronger.
You just can't start up an LTL business from scratch. It takes years and alot of capital to build up a nationwide network of terminals and to have enough inbound and outbound freight to operate them profitably.
So if you're a young guy or gal starting out, try to eventually shoot for an LTL job. It's in my opinion the best combination of pay, benefits, and hometime you will find driving a truck these days. And the future is looking good!