Epes fleet in the early days.  -  Photo: Epes Transport

Epes fleet in the early days.

Photo: Epes Transport

As part of HDT’s 100th anniversary, we’re sharing the stories of trucking fleets that have experienced big anniversaries of theiir own. Epes Transport, a privately owned regional for-hire dry van carrier based in North Carolina, recently celebrated its 90th anniversary.

The company was founded in 1931 in Blackstone, Virginia, as a tobacco hauler with three trucks. Originally known as The Transport Company, it began as a family-owned business and continued that way for more than 55 years.

Epes Transport was purchased in 1987 by Epes Carriers Inc. of Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1988, it relocated the general offices from Blackstone to Greensboro. A year later they acquired Thomas Transport Systems Inc. In 1989, Epes Logistics wass started as a transportation marketing and logistics company. In 1991, Epes acquired TS Acquisition Inc. dba Texas Star Express. In 1993 the company installed Qualcomm Satellite tracking systems and acquired Burton Lines Inc. of Durham, North Carolina.

A 1936 Epes tractor-trailer.  -  Photo: Epes Transport

A 1936 Epes tractor-trailer.

Photo: Epes Transport

1995 brought two more acquisitions, Anderson & Webb of Mt. Airy, North Carolina, and assets from York Transportation of York, South Carolina.

In 1996, Epes Dedicated Fleet Operations started as division of Epes Transport System Inc.

2001-2002 brought more acquisitions: C.S Henry Transfer of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and Lakeway Trucking Inc., Southern Freight Express Inc., and Southern Freight Services Inc. of Morristown, Tennessee.

Between 2009 and 2012 Epes acquired Piedmont Express Inc. of Conover, North Carolina; Scales Express of Valdosta, Georgia; Cargo Logistics of Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2013 it merged with Texas Star Express of Rockwall, Texas.

Penske Logistics, based in Reading, Pennsylvania, acquired Epes Transport System in 2018.

An Epes truck in 1968.  -  Photo: Epes Transport

An Epes truck in 1968.

Photo: Epes Transport

Today, Epes Transport serves the eastern two-thirds of the United States, with more than 1,500 tractors and more than 7,000 trailers. Epes has been named on the lists of Top Workplaces, Best Fleets to Drive For, Most Valuable Employer Military Winner, and Top Companies for Women to Work for in Transportation, among many others.

“The culture at Epes is a function of its people.  Whether it’s year one/truck one or year 90/truck 1,600, the people make Epes Transport special,” says Phil Peck, Epes chief operating officer.  “What has never wavered or been lost during good times of growth, or challenging times in the industry, is the trust, honesty and transparency that each person shows to their fellow Epes associate. At every level of the organization, and with every opportunity, we lean on each other, we count on each other, and we invest in each other.” 

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