A family-owned trucking firm that has called Charleston home since its founding in 1959 is merging with a national carrier.
Charleston’s Bulldog Hiway Express, created 56 years ago by the late R.D. Moseley, is joining the Daseke Inc. family of flatbed, open-deck and specialty trailers based in Addison, Texas.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“This is the right decision at the right time for Bulldog,” Phil Byrd, Bulldog’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “The synergies and collaboration that exist within the Daseke family of companies will bring added capacity, capabilities and value to our people and customers.”
Byrd, immediate past chairman of the American Trucking Association, said he learned about Daseke and Don Daseke, the company’s president and CEO, through the national trade group.
“They are an elite group led by Don, who is building something profound and unique in this industry,” Byrd said. “It’s clear that he’s investing in people and companies that have well-deserved reputations for quality and integrity.”
Bulldog, which employs more than 225 workers, handles dedicated and for-hire, open-deck trucking operations, intermodal port deliveries and heavy hauls with loads reaching 180,000 pounds.
The company, which has more than 400 trailers and terminals in Charleston, Savannah and Mobile, Ala., operates throughout the U.S. and Canada supporting the automotive and energy sectors, including wind, solar and nuclear power.
Daseke has more than 2,800 tractors and more than 5,800 open-deck trailers, making it the nation’s second-largest carrier. Its other subsidiaries include Smokey Point Distributing; E.W. Wylie; J. Grady Randolph; Central Oregon Truck Co.; Lone Star Transportation, including Davenport Transport; and the Boyd Companies, which include Boyd Bros. Transportation, WTI Transport, Mid Seven Transportation.
“Bulldog is a great match with our family of companies,” Daseke said in a statement. “They have an extremely enviable position in the markets they serve, and are dedicated to customer service, as well as their own employees. Their safety scores are impeccable, something that is carried across the line with all Daseke companies.”
Moseley, Bulldog’s founder, died in 2012 at the age of 84.
“We went through good times and lean times,” said son Rod Moseley, who was chairman of Bulldog, in a statement. “The drivers at Bulldog built our company. I still remember all their names; they taught me how to drive when I was in high school. There were many times when my dad would go without paychecks to make sure everyone was taken care of. He had a saying, ‘You can eat well, or sleep well.’ He took that to heart.”
The company got its name from the mascot for The Citadel, where the elder Moseley graduated in 1953. After graduation, he borrowed $1,000 to buy a truck and started delivering loads throughout South Carolina.
The company’s big break came in 1969, when it signed a contract to haul loads from the Port of Charleston. Bulldog was the first company to move a container from the port and intermodal deliveries became a mainstay for the company, which still hauls port cargo.
Byrd said Bulldog has seen 20 percent growth in business over the past two years and “we expect that growth to compound” with Daseke. He called Bulldog a close-knit company, with many of the employees working for the hauler for 30 or more years.
“Bulldog is the only company at which many of our people have ever worked,” Byrd said. “Once people join Bulldog, they are a part of the family.”
Reach David Wren at 937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_