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.