About Us

Estes is the largest privately held freight transportation company in North America.

We offer a comprehensive suite of freight shipping services to get your shipments where they need to go, when they need to get there. And because we’re committed to making freight shipping easier, our online tools and applications put all the important information you need, right at your fingertips.

Estes was built on values, but it runs on trust. That’s why after more than 90 years in the freight transportation business, we’re still so dedicated to building strong relationships with the people we serve, and delivering exceptional experiences that keep them coming back:

  • We’re Ethical
    We do right by our customers every time
  • We’re Honest
    We’re straightforward, trustworthy, and transparent
  • We’re Committed
    We go above and beyond to help when challenges arise

At Estes, going the extra mile isn’t just what we do—it’s who we are.

Below are our vital statistics—including information about Estes’ people, fleet, facilities, and accolades.

Employment

  • Employees - 22,800+ (2023 year-end - up 2.0% over 2022)
  • Drivers - 10,300+ (2023 year-end - up 3.1% over 2022)

Fleet Information

  • Tractors - 10,400+
    • 180 compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) tractors, 70 renewable natural gas-powered tractors
  • Trailers - 41,000+

Shipment and Facilities Information

  • Terminals - 280+ (U.S. and Canada)
    • Seven solar-powered; three additional locations planned for 2024
  • Terminal doors - 11,261 (2023 year-end - up 4.9% over 2022)
    • Nearly 330 electric forklifts in use
  • Shipment tonnage - 15,506,049,702 lbs. (2023 - down 0.2% over 2022)
  • Shipment volume - 12,540,615 (2023 - up 0.8% over 2022)
  • U.S. states with direct service - 50
    • Estes also offers service to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean

Mastio National LTL Survey Ratings (2023)

  • Rated as providing highest value of all national LTL carriers
  • Only national LTL carrier to improve, year-over-year, across all top-10 performance categories

Industry Rankings

  • #4 LTL carrier in the U.S.
  • Largest privately held freight transportation company in North America

Recent Recognition

Corporate Office

  • 3901 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230
  • Phone - (804) 353-1900
  • Fax - (804) 353-8001

It all began in 1931 when our founder, W.W. Estes bought a used Chevrolet truck to haul livestock to market for his neighbors in rural Virginia. Estes was looking for a way to support his family during The Great Depression but in time his business grew. Soon he was transporting not only livestock, but farm supplies and other goods to nearby farms, small towns, and large cities. Over the next five years he hired his first drivers, opened an office in Chase City, Virginia, and officially named the company Estes Express Lines.

In the last nine decades, this one-man trucking operation has grown into the largest privately held freight carrier in the nation. Today, Estes has more than 22,000 employees, a fleet of more than 10,400 tractors and 40,000 trailers, and a network of 280+ terminals, with coverage in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. And our company is debt-free, financially-stable, and has won several awards for safety, reliability, and exceptional customer service.

If W.W. could see Estes today, he would certainly be amazed to witness how much his business has grown. But we think he would be even more pleased to know that his company’s growth was driven by the same values of hard work, honesty, and commitment that served as his foundation back in 1931. Though a lot has changed in the shipping industry (and the world) over the last 90 years, Estes remains committed to delivering responsive freight solutions so our customers can focus on what matters most.

At Estes, we’re proud to have a team of more than 22,000 fiercely dedicated employees who always go the extra mile to take care of the people we serve. We are committed to delivering responsive freight solutions so our customers can focus on what matters most—and at the heart of that mission are our Estes core values:

FAMILY-INSPIRED CULTURE – Our people are like family. We support and inspire each other every day. We collaborate and roll up our sleeves to pitch in whenever needed. Estes is a third- and fourth-generation family owned and run enterprise, so our focus is on the long-term.

STABILITY & EXPERIENCE – We have nine decades of experience characterized by continual growth and development of end-to-end solutions. That experience — along with a conservative fiscal management policy — means that we have the resources, equipment, and technology that will provide customers with continual improvements.

SAFETY – We are resolute in the quest to keep people safe — both our associates and the public.

INNOVATION – Our culture embraces flexibility and the development of new ideas and technology for improving the breadth of services we offer every day.

INTEGRITY & TRUST – Our unwavering commitment to honesty, fairness, and doing the right thing is one of the main reasons we’re still in business after almost nine decades.

EMPOWERMENT – We equip associates to provide the best service to our customers and celebrate the ability to overcome obstacles.

COURAGE & DETERMINATION – We are passionate about inspiring smart thinking, a make-it-happen mentality, and a drive to excel in order to create better outcomes.

Sound like you?

Visit our Careers site to see if you might be a good fit for our team!

As the nation’s fourth-largest LTL shipper, Estes provides comprehensive freight transportation solutions, backed by our guiding principles of sustainability. That’s why we:

  • Partnered with Watershed, the leading enterprise sustainability platform, to assess and set benchmarks against our sustainability efforts
  • Will be the first LTL carrier to participate in Remora’s inaugural carbon capture pilot program
  • Were one of the first trucking companies to join the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership in 2004
  • Continue to grow our fleet of 12 electric tractors and nearly 330 zero emission electric forklifts, and maintain a fleet of 180 natural gas-powered tractors
  • Implement strategies to reduce, reuse, and recycle in our day-to-day logistics
  • Invest in solar energy as a nonpolluting, renewable resource
  • Reduce emissions by using newer equipment and route optimization technology

At Estes, we’ve got our eyes on the road and the environment. Explore the following tabs to discover the many ways we’re investing in tomorrow through our commitment to eco-sustainability.

In 2023, Estes partnered with Watershed, the leading enterprise sustainability platform. The initial phase of our work with Watershed will be to complete our first-ever carbon footprint. Once completed, we will use this footprint to analyze our emissions data, identify emissions hot spots, inform new reduction targets, and help us to manage our carbon output more effectively.

Estes is excited that we will be the first LTL carrier–and one of just six companies–to participate in Remora’s inaugural carbon-capture pilot. Remora is building carbon-capture devices that can be retrofitted to the tailpipe of virtually any semi-truck and can capture up to 80% of the truck’s CO2 emissions. Remora sequesters the captured carbon by selling it to end-users such as concrete producers, who use CO2 in the concrete-curing process. Once it’s available on the open market, this innovative hardware and technology will be a game changer.

Estes also employs these carbon-reducing practices:

  • Investing in route optimization software: We use route optimization software to organize all our scheduled delivery stops into the shortest, most efficient trip possible. We also work to maximize every load to ensure that we’re minimizing empty miles
  • Improving engine efficiency: When a machine needs less engine power to perform its function, it burns less fuel, emits less CO2, and eats up less fuel-production energy. We have developed a deliberate equipment-investment strategy that allows us to keep our equipment in top condition and our engine efficiency at an optimal level
  • Managing driver performance: We’ve installed cutting edge Samsara systems in our tractors to monitor driver performance and ensure the best fuel economy. Studies show the most efficient drivers get about 30% better fuel economy than the least efficient drivers
  • Conducting pre-trip inspections and training: We offer resources to address industry best practices for increasing driver efficiency, such as proper tire inflation, optimal shifting, speed management, and idling-shutdown tools

Better driver efficiency and newer, more efficient equipment mean less greenhouse gas emissions and millions of dollars in fuel cost savings.

SmartWay Transport Partnership

In 2004, Estes demonstrated our commitment to eco-sustainability by becoming one of the first trucking companies to join the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay Transport Partnership.

This innovative collaboration between the freight industry and government improves energy efficiency and security while reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. SmartWay gives carriers the tools to verify the benefits of fuel-saving vehicles and equipment, and at Estes, we use SmartWay-approved vendors for purchases of new tractors, trailers, and tires.

Since its inception, SmartWay has helped its partners avoid emitting 150 million tons of air pollution into the environment.

Whether in our shops, terminals, or in our trucks, we conserve natural resources through:

  • Recycling metal: We send all of our scrap metal to recyclers, keeping tons of waste out of landfills nationwide
  • Recycling water: We protect groundwater by having a licensed disposal company collect and recycle our used antifreeze, oil and oil filters in an environmentally responsible manner
  • Improved shop cloths: We conserve water and electricity—and help keep detergents and other chemicals out of the environment—by replacing washable cloth shop rags with biodegradable, paper-based clean-up sheets
  • Paper conservation: We have greatly reduced our company-wide paper consumption through the use of paperless docks at 149 terminals, and by providing customers with paperless e-commerce solutions (online shipping forms and EDI and Web Services)
  • Refurbished parts and components: We use rebuilt/remanufactured components when repairing units, including starters, alternators, brake shoes, transmissions, differentials and other parts
  • LED lighting: All equipment purchases use LED lighting. This long-life lighting technology has significantly reduced the number of light bulbs we discard every year
  • Repurposed materials: Our nationwide network of freight terminals reuses cardboard and pallets as dunnage to help secure customer freight during transit
  • Recapped tires: We have extended tread life and reduced waste by recapping more than 472,000 tires since 2019

We follow environmentally responsible procedures to keep harmful pollutants out of the air and groundwater in the communities we serve.

  • Nonhazardous cleaning solutions: Our shop facilities use a nonhazardous solution for parts cleaning to minimize waste disposal. And to help protect groundwater from contaminants, no chlorinated solvents are used in our shops.
  • Smarter wash systems: Many of our wash systems feature oil-water separators, plus closed-loop applications that minimize discharge to sewer systems. For facilities without wash systems, outside contractors reclaim all wash water. We’ve also eliminated the use of acids in our trailer-washing process to help prevent metals from seeping into the groundwater.
  • Refrigerant capture: When servicing air conditioning units, we always capture Freon and other harmful refrigerants to ensure their disposal in an environmentally friendly manner.
  • Better tank systems: Most of our in-house fueling facilities use above-ground tank systems, which meet or exceed all federal, state and local regulations. Many are equipped with canopies to help prevent storm-water runoff, as well as card readers that limit potential spillage.
  • Maintenance: We follow more efficient schedules for routine vehicle maintenance, which reduces the amount of waste oil to recycle.
  • Mosquito prevention: Our mounted wheel program helps prevent the buildup of standing water in tires, which eliminates breeding sites for mosquitoes that carry disease-causing viruses.
  • Wheel refurbishing: We’ve reduced the use of aerosols in our shops by sending our wheels to responsible outside contractors for restoration.
  • Earth-friendly parts washing: Shops feature self-contained sinks for washing vehicle parts, which help prevent oil and chemicals from entering the environment.
  • Rack-stored batteries: We store our vehicle batteries in special racks that collect acids and other hazardous chemicals.

Estes invests in solar energy as a nonpolluting, renewable resource that delivers reliable power year-round. So far, we have installed solar-power systems at our terminals located in:

  • Baltimore, MD
  • Elkton, MD
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Lakewood, NJ
  • Pine Brook, NJ
  • West Middlesex, PA
  • Williamsport, PA

In 2024, Estes plans to install solar-powered systems in Joliet, IL, Norfolk, VA, and York, PA.

Electric forklift

We make responsible decisions about fuel usage. From route-planning technology to ensuring we carry freight as efficiently as possible, we work hard to minimize our trucks’ fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Better fuels
    • Compressed natural gas (CNG): Our fleet includes 180 trucks that run on emission-reducing compressed natural gas; 70 of these run on renewable fuel
    • ULSD fuel: Our standard trucks use only ULSD (Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel) fuel, which reduces the emission of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides
    • Biodiesel: We use B5 blend biodiesel in some states
    • Conversion to propane: Our forklifts have been converted from gasoline/diesel to propane
    • Conversion to electric: We’re now using 12 electric tractors and nearly 330 electric forklifts, which emit no harmful fumes and release no greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere
  • Optimizing fuel efficiency
    • PrePass and EZ Pass: Our drivers utilize PrePass and EZ Pass to bypass weigh stations and toll plazas, meaning trucks spend less time idling
    • Efficient driving: Every tractor is equipped with computerized Samsara hardware that records driver inefficiencies that can waste fuel, such as long idle, excess speed and over-RPM metrics
    • Fuel economy monitors: Trucks are equipped with technology for tracking and measuring fuel economy; we can then address any issues that might lead to wasted fuel
    • Improved aerodynamics: We have installed aerodynamic skirts on long-haul trailers to cut fuel consumption up to 5%; our equipment also features air shields, rear wheel covers, and mud flaps, which further improves vehicle aerodynamics
    • Reduced oil consumption: We use synthetic lubricants for all drivetrains (transmissions and rears) to reduce friction and improve fuel mileage
    • Low-profile tires: We have converted our entire fleet to low-profile tires to reduce rolling resistance and lower fuel consumption
    • Speed management: Power-unit speed ranges from 65 to 67 mph to increase vehicle fuel mileage
    • Weight reduction: By using aluminum rather than steel fuel tanks, we reduce power unit weight by 65 pounds, which improves fuel economy
    • Card-locked fuel systems: We use card-locked systems for our vehicles to foil wasteful, unauthorized access to fuel; our systems also employ breakaway hoses to help prevent potential soil and water pollution from fuel spills

  • Smarter Route Planning
    • Innovative route-planning software: We use sophisticated route-planning software to ensure that we’re carrying freight as efficiently as possible, thereby limiting greenhouse gas emissions and unnecessary fuel consumption
    • Fewer empty loads: Through better engineering and improved technology, we've reduced our truck fleet's percentage of empty miles since the mid-2000s; that mitigates our carbon emissions footprint and helps control costs for our customers
    • Intermodal transport: To help reduce our carbon footprint, we utilize rail when appropriate

At Estes, we believe in giving back to the communities we serve. That’s why our company and its employees have devoted countless hours and resources over the years to causes such as:

  • Employee-Directed Giving: Each year, Estes’ Open Heart, Open Road employee-directed giving campaign allocates a donation of $500,000 across 13 national charities. Through a company-wide nomination and voting process, we ask our employees to identify the causes they care most about. We then make donations to those that receive the most employee votes, including charities with missions to support children, health, seniors, pets, and veterans
  • The Children’s Hospital Foundation: In 2021, the Estes company and the Estes family together donated $2 million to support construction of the Children’s Tower at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. The Children’s Tower opened in 2023 and is home to the hospital’s pediatric trauma center, emergency room, inpatient units, operating rooms, imaging center, and family amenities. 
  • Supporting Our Troops: Estes is proud to support our military and will forever be grateful for the sacrifices made by America’s men and women in uniform. Over the years we’ve helped provide outreach to active-duty service members in combat and disaster-relief zones by delivering care packages and supplies. And we continue to support Wreaths Across America every holiday season by delivering fresh evergreen wreaths to the gravesites of fallen veterans.
  • Grassroots Community Involvement: The spirit of giving is strong among Estes employees in their local communities. Many of our terminals choose to celebrate the holidays by participating in the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program, or adopting a family through Angel Tree. Every year, there’s an outpouring of generosity from our employees as they donate toys, clothes and supplies for families that cannot afford gifts. 

Protecting the public, our customers, and our employees is a top priority at Estes. That’s why safety is a core value that’s embedded in every facet of our operations—both on and off the road. With nearly a century of freight transportation experience, preventing the preventable is yet another way that Estes keeps America’s freight moving safely.

Safety Awards

Since 2002, Estes has been recognized every year by the American Trucking Association (ATA) for our ongoing dedication to exceptional safety. In 2024, Estes won six national safety awards when competing in the ATA’s National Truck Safety Contest, which assessed our driver accident rate, and its National Industrial Safety Contest, which looked at employee injury rates:

Estes Express Lines
  • 2nd Place – Truck Safety Contest - LTL - Line-haul Division (Over 100 million miles)
  • 2nd Place – Truck Safety Contest - LTL - Local Division (Over 100 million miles)
  • 2nd Place – Industrial Safety Contest - LTL Division (Over 5,000 employees)
Estes West
  • 1st Place – Truck Safety Contest - LTL - Line-haul Division (10-100 million miles)
  • 1st Place – Truck Safety Contest - LTL - Local Division (10-100 million miles)
  • 2nd Place – Industrial Safety Contest - LTL Division (1,001-5,000 employees) 

Estes’ affiliates provide worldwide shipping, household moving, economical long-haul LTL, and leasing services—all backed by the resources of the nation’s largest private freight carrier.

EFW offers worldwide shipping with unlimited capacity, flexible delivery, convenient warehousing, and 24-hour tracking. Through its global network of 10,000+ partners and access to Estes’ vast North American shipping resources, EFW delivers efficient, customizable solutions. Visit the website or contact EFW today.

SureMove provides a reliable, lower-cost option for do-it-yourself household moves. SureMove drops off and moves the trailer. You load and unload within three-day windows—and save a bundle on moving costs. Visit the website to learn more or get a quote today.

Clear Lane Freight Systems leverages the available capacity of partner carriers along a non-asset-based network to provide long-haul LTL solutions. In exchange for slightly longer transit times, shippers enjoy more economical rates. Visit the website or contact Clear Lane today.

Estes Leasing LLC provides cost-effective, hassle-free alternatives to equipment financing and maintenance. Contact Estes Leasing LLC today at 1-804-230-1767.