Ahold USA believes that making its transportation operations as efficient as possible will allow it to best serve its customers. “Our customers want the freshest product, and we help execute the transportation of that product in a just-in-time environment,” the Carlisle, Penn.-headquartered company says. “We drive costs out by engineering solutions where we can leverage dedicated transportation and our private fleet movements. We are constantly looking at ways to improve shelf life through reduced transit time and want to bring savings back to the business so we can invest in price.”

The company – the U.S. division of international retailing group Ahold – regularly invests in ways to reduce its shipping and transportation costs while maintaining a high service level. This includes increased use of rail, setting key performance indicators related to mileage and using technology to increase visibility into routing, tracking, safety and other steps of the transportation process. “Technology is improving our evolving transportation and logistics strategy and also enables us to make better real-time decisions as a company,” the company adds.

As a mid-sized transportation, logistics, refrigerated trucking and temperature-controlled warehousing operation, WEL Companies knows what it takes to succeed.

The family owned company is in its 40th year in business. “I’m the third generation,” President Chris Tielens explains. In 1975, Wally Tielens and his sons Bruce and Randy started the business as Wisconsin Express Lines. The company began with one truck hauling cheese from the Midwest to the East Coast. Today, it operates in all 48 contiguous states with more than 500 trucks and 800 trailers in the fleet.

“Throughout the years, the company evolved,” Tielens says. In 1988, Bruce and Randy purchased the company and renamed it WEL Companies. Wally Tielens passed away in 2005 and Randy Tielens died in 2013. Chris Tielens was named president last year. 

Frac sand transloading leader Wildcat Minerals LLC is expanding with two new sites in west Texas and Ohio. Wildcat is the largest domestic, independent provider of materials-handling and supply chain visibility solutions for oil field consumables. 

The company operates 20 dry bulk and proppant storage facilities and fluids transloading terminals in 10 states. During its eight-year history, Wildcat has pioneered the development of high-capacity and high-volume distribution terminals and real-time inventory management technology that allow customers to manage inventory from the processing plant to the wellhead in real-time. Wildcat is headquartered in Golden, Colo.

The polar vortex sweeps out of the Arctic over Canada and North America only in winter, but inside Tribe Transportation’s trailers, it’s always arctic. The company’s fleet of approximately 290 trailers keeps deep-frozen products such as ice cream and pharmaceuticals at temperatures of minus 20 F or colder, while other grocery products such as seafood are maintained below 32 F.

Besides finished products, Tribe Transportation also ships ingredients and intermediate products to locations for additional processing. Many of the deliveries are just-in-time of perishable items for major food companies. “We have delivery times and requirements that we’ve got to make,” Executive Vice President Matt Handte emphasizes. “We feel like food is recession-proof, and the demand for food continues to increase.”

All the company’s trailers are 53 feet in length. The older ones are converted for use on railroad cars. “As we retire a road trailer, our goal is to outfit it with a lift pad and a larger tank and put it on the train,” Handte says. “You’ve got to put lift pads on the trailer and some protective shielding that allows them to lift that trailer on and off the train.”

Summitt Trucking fell so deep into bankruptcy in 2009 that it was never expected to make it out the other side, let alone become the successful company it is today. 

“At one point I sat down, threw up my hands, looked up and said ‘Bring whatever you got because I’m not quitting,’” President David Summitt remembers. “That was a turning point. A couple weeks later everything started coming together and the business grabbed ahold of itself.”

The Clarksville, Ind.-based company was founded in 2003 with 125 trucks and 200 trailers. The next year, Summitt Trucking acquired Big T and added 300 trucks and 600 trailers, and then in 2005 it purchased the assets of Harry Owen and grew to 456 trucks and 1,088 trailers. The company was growing quickly – until the bottom fell out. “In the first quarter 2009 our finance company closed their doors with no warning, took our line of credit with them and forced us into Chapter 11,” Summitt explains. “We had a great company, but we had a bad balance sheet because we grew so fast.”

Based out of Calhoun, Ga., RRR Transportation is a growing over-the-road trucking company. As a long-haul trucking company, RRR Transportation’s goal is to provide world-class service by understanding customer needs and maintaining the highest standards of safety, environmental consciousness and continuous improvement. 

“This is a family business that we started in 1989,” President Bobby Reeves says. “We move a lot of commodities out of Georgia. We have almost 60 trucks and we use a lot of technology to help oversee our operations.” 

Typically, RRR Transportation hauls goods manufactured in Georgia, such as lumber, wood flooring, carpet, furniture and construction materials. These goods are transported to California, Colorado and Washington. The trucks often return home with refrigerated produce from the West Coast. In addition, RRR Transportation can handle a variety of other temperature-controlled and dry van shipments in long-haul routes between the Southeast and the Northwest. 

Dennis Reynolds’ first exposure to large machinery came at a young age. As a child growing up on a farm in Runge, Texas, Reynolds learned how to not only operate, but also fix tractors and other equipment. 

Reynolds first turned this knowledge into a paying job on a part-time basis after  enrolling in community college in the early 1970s. Reynolds, who at the time also worked as a firefighter for the San Antonio Fire Department, spent his days between shifts working on trucks from his home. 

His repair business transitioned into transportation after he was given a truck as payment for a job. From there, he acquired more trucks and grew the transportation business while continuing to work as a firefighter. The business grew even larger after he was approached about buying a fleet of trucks and trailers that carried tequila. An additional liquid-hauling opportunity came when the company was retained to transport milk for a regional dairy cooperative.

For 72 years, Howard Sheppard Inc. has thrived by making customers its partners and dedicating itself to their businesses. “We listen to the specific needs of our customers to determine what we must do to satisfy those needs,” the company declares.

Based in Sandersville, Ga., family owned Howard Sheppard says it is an industry leader in transporting kaolin, liquid, dry bulk, packaged freight and containerized freight. Its founder, Howard Sheppard, started the company in 1943 when he purchased a truck to haul sand and gravel. 

After growing to haul whatever needed to be moved locally, Sheppard purchased another truck. With the help of his wife, Barbara Holmes, the company grew further and earned a reputation as a reliable mover of kaolin.

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