Epes Transport was founded in 1931 in Blackstone, Virginia by Wilfred G. Epes as “The Transport Company.” By 1945, the company had established offices in Durham and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It continued as a family company for 55 years before being purchased on August 19, 1987 by Epes Carriers, Inc., a holding company established by A.M. Bodford.

 Early the next year, the company headquarters was relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina. Then Epes Carriers acquired Thomas Transport Systems, Inc. on April 12, 1989. Epes founded Epes Logistics, a transportation marketing and logistics company, on September 19, 1990. That year, the company also acquired the flatbed fleet of North State Motor Line of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. This acquisition brought the company’s flatbed fleet to a total of 110 pieces of equipment. It then acquired TS Acquisition, Inc., which was known as Texas Star Express, on June 12, 1991. Two more acquisitions were made in 1993 – Yeary Transfer Company of Lexington, Kentucky in May and Burton Lines, Inc. of Durham, North Carolina in July. These were followed by the acquisition of Anderson & Webb of Mount Airy, North Carolina and assets from York Transportation of York, South Carolina.

On April 3, 1996, a new division of Epes Transport System, Inc. began operations – Epes Dedicated Fleet Operations. Other acquisitions took place: On April 21, 1997, Epes acquired assets from Salem Express Services; C.S. Henry Transfer of Rocky Mount on August 04, 2001; Glossen Freightways, Inc. of Lexington, North Carolina on September 12, 2001; and Lakeway Trucking, Inc., Southern Freight Express, Inc., and Southern Freight Services, Inc. of Morristown, Tennessee on April 11, 2002.

A photo that celebrates the company’s 90th anniversary. (Photo: Epes Transport)

Several years went by before more acquisitions were made: on April 24, 2009, Epes acquired Piedmont Express, Inc. of Conover, North Carolina; on April 14, 2010, the company acquired Scales Express of Valdosta, Georgia; and on April 17, 2012, Cargo Logistics of Charlotte, North Carolina was acquired. Then on April 27, 2013, Epes merged with Texas Star Express of Rockwall, Texas. 

Through acquisitions and its commitment to community and technology, Epes became the largest private truckload carrier in North Carolina. The company operated over 1,250 power units and 5,500 trailers and employed over 1,200 drivers.

A Penske Logistics tractor-trailer.
(Photo: Penske Logistics)

Then, on July 2, 2018, Epes Transport System was acquired by Penske Logistics. As an operating subsidiary of Penske, Epes is a truckload common and contract carrier with a 48-state authority.

The company’s major markets are located in the Southeast, Midwest, Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Florida. It has nine terminals in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.