Company History

Reliable Freight Shipping Solutions Since 1931

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 as a way to support his family during The Great Depression. Over time his business grew, and 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.

Throughout the last nine decades, our company has grown from a one-man trucking operation to the largest privately held freight carrier in the nation.

Today, Estes has more than 19,000 employees, a fleet of more than 7,000 tractors and nearly 30,000 trailers, and a network of nearly 265 terminals, with coverage in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. And our extensive network of air, ocean, and ground services means we can ship to virtually any destination around the globe. Not only that—we’re debt-free, financially stable, and award-winners for safety, responsiveness, and exceptional customer service.

A lot has changed in the shipping industry (and the world) over the last 90 years, but through the decades our company’s mission has remained the same. We deliver responsive freight solutions so you can focus on what matters most:

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, integrity, and customer service that served as his foundation back in 1931. Since our company’s very first delivery run, keeping our customers satisfied and striving for excellence has always been The Estes Way.

1931

1933

1935

Motor Carrier Act regulates interstate trucking.

1937

Officially christened “Estes Express Lines.”

1938

1941

W.W. builds a second home office/terminal on Sycamore Street in Chase City, VA.

1944

Additional operating territory acquired in Virginia’s Northern Neck from Bristow Lines.

1946

1948

Company is incorporated on November 23 as Estes Express Lines.

1951

1953

1955

First official safety program rewards drivers for improving safety records.

1957

Four new terminals added in northern, southwestern and southeastern Virginia.

$1.1 million annual revenue by year-end.

1960

1965

Coastal Freight Lines purchase—Estes’ first interstate trucking venture.

1967

Carolina-Norfolk Truck Lines purchase adds four new terminals in North Carolina.

1971

1972

Purchase of A.C. Express and Johnson Express expands Estes’ rights in the Carolinas.

1975

Pollard Delivery Service authority purchase expands territory into Maryland and Washington, DC.

1976

1978

Palmer Motor Express purchase for authority into Savannah, GA.

1980

1984

First desktop computers in both the terminals and home office.

1987

1990

The third generation of the Estes family to guide the company, Rob becomes president.

1991

$100 million annual revenue

1994

1995

1996

ExpressLINK network is born—Estes, G.I. Trucking, TST Overland Express and Lakeville Motor Express.

1997

Gold Medal Expedited Service—guaranteed, on-time delivery.

1999

2000

2001

Joint purchase of G.I. stock from ABC Corp. by Estes and G.I. Trucking senior management.

Purchase of Allen’s Expedited’s assets and operations adds warehousing and expedited services.

2002

Estes Integrated opens—transportation system analysis, design and management.

2003

2004

$1 billion annual revenue

Tropical Storm Gaston dumps 14 inches of rain in less than 8 hours; destroys ground-level data center in Richmond.

2005

2006

2007

Company expands direct service to all 50 states.

2008

Nationwide launch of Estes Brokerage service.

Estes establishes a nationwide footprint with addition of 13 new terminals in six Upper-Midwest states.

Estes becomes the first major LTL carrier to become TSA-security compliant.

2009

2010

Focus on technology with redesigned website, new e-planning tools and handheld computer upgrade.

Network reengineering to cut transit times and reduce handling.

2011

2012

2013

2014

Revenue exceeds $2 billion at year end.

2015

Estes begins efforts to renew its fleet with 40% of tractors less than two years old by year-end.

Solar panel installation complete at Greensboro, North Carolina terminal.

2017

Estes begins Canadian Direct Service and enhances the company’s cross-border footprint with 20 Canadian terminals.

Our interactive timeline will take you on a journey of Estes’ progress throughout the decades. Simply click the decade on the top to jump to a point in time, or select the year on the left and read about a milestone in our company’s history.