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FreightWaves Classics: Dependable Supply Chain Services began with a single tractor

Dependable Supply Chain Services is a full-service logistics provider and one of the top 100 trucking companies in the United States. Among the services the company provides are trucking (less-than-truckload [LTL], truckload [TL] and harbor drayage), warehousing and distribution, third-party logistics, air freight forwarding, ocean freight forwarding, freight transport to and from Hawaii and Guam and supply chain consulting. 

Harry Massman began Dependable Trucking in Los Angeles in 1950 with a single tractor. More than 70 years later, Dependable Supply Chain Services now has five unique integrated divisions that manage each of these customized services. 

The company’s divisions and the specific transportation areas that each handle include:

  • DDC – Dependable Distribution Centers (warehousing and distribution)
  • DHE – Dependable Highway Express (LTL & TL transportation, harbor drayage and intermodal)
  • DLS – Dependable Logistics Solutions (3PL/third-party logistics and supply chain consulting)
  • DHX – Dependable Hawaiian Express (transportation to and from the Hawaiian Islands and Guam)
  • DGX – Dependable Global Express (international ocean freight forwarder and NVOCC, worldwide air freight)

The company’s history (1960s-1970s)

Fourteen years after Harry Massman began Dependable Trucking, his son Ron joined the company in 1964. Then, in 1968 Dependable Trucking acquired Freight Transport and began offering public warehousing and harbor drayage services.

In 1972 the company’s Galaxy Distribution warehouse was opened in Los Angeles. This was later renamed Dependable Distribution Centers (DDC). The next year, Bob Massman joined his father and brother at Dependable Trucking.

Dependable Trucking began an ocean freight forwarding service from California to Hawaii in 1978.

The 1980s

The 1980s began with Ron Massman starting a new company, Dependable Hawaiian Express, Inc., or DHE. The company was established as an ocean freight forwarding company serving Hawaii. In 1981 DHE acquired Seaway Distribution, another ocean freight forwarder that served Hawaii and Guam. This led DHE to expand its services to Guam.

In 1985 Dependable Hawaiian Express, Inc.’s name was changed to DHX, Inc. DHX opened a terminal in Seattle in 1987, expanding into the Pacific Northwest. DHX then began a trucking service on Guam in 1989. 

Meanwhile, the company changed the name of Dependable Trucking to Dependable Highway Express, Inc. (DHE) in 1986. The following year DHE expanded into regional truckload service after its acquisition of Interlines Trucking, a local and regional LTL/TL carrier.

The 1990s

DHE began LTL service throughout California in 1990 after it acquired SOS, Inc. of San Leandro, California. Then DHE acquired a 1.5-million square foot distribution warehouse in Los Angeles from Sears in 1993. The company converted the Sears distribution center into the nation’s largest public warehouse facility under one roof. The facility also became the corporate headquarters of the Dependable family of companies. 

In 1995 DHE acquired Freight Train Trucking, and began a regional truckload division in Texas. It also purchased a truck terminal in Vernon (a community in Los Angeles) to domicile its truckload and harbor drayage divisions.

Two other events occurred in 1995. The Dependable Distribution Centers division opened a public warehouse/distribution facility in Oakland, California. That same year, Dependable began a new division – Dependable Logistics Solutions (DLS) – and began third-party logistics (3PL) services.

DHX grew significantly in the 1990s. After beginning trucking services in Guam in 1989, DHX began a similar service in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1992. This was followed in 1994 by the acquisition of Pan Oceana Freight Forwarding, which increased DHX’s presence in Guam.

In 1995 DHX acquired a 105,000-square foot distribution facility in Rancho Dominguez (in greater Los Angeles), which became the DHX corporate headquarters and its Southern California operations platform. DHX acquired Lahaina Cartage in 1996 and began offering trucking services on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

In 1997 DHX announced it had begun a new air freight forwarding division, which later became Dependable AirCargo Express (DAX). The following year DHX achieved International Standards Organization (ISO) certification.

DHX ended the decade by acquiring ocean freight forwarder Transitainer, and then expanded its service to Australia and New Zealand. It also opened strategic consolidation locations across the continental U.S.

The 2000s

DHE continued to grow and expand its footprint during the 2000s. In 2000 it acquired Merchants Delivery Systems, an LTL carrier. It then opened terminals in Ontario, Ventura and Stockton, California. The next year DHE opened LTL terminals in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, after acquiring LTL carrier Safe-T Way Trucking. Also in 2001 DHE added dedicated temperature-controlled service to its offerings after purchasing truckload carrier Ultrans. 

In 2003 DHE opened a terminal in Fresno, California, after it acquired Shane Transportation’s LTL business. That acquisition was followed in 2005 by the purchase of Intercal Contract Carriers, a regional truckload carrier. DHE then opened additional truckload operations in California’s capital, Sacramento. The next year DHE expanded its Sacramento footprint when it acquired Rath Trucking, a Sacramento-based LTL carrier.

DHE purchased the assets of Golden Eagle Express, a Pomona, California-based truckload carrier in 2007. This began DHE’s truckload service to and from Mexico. In 2009 DHE purchased a fleet of “green” tractors and acquired J&M Express, Inc., a harbor drayage carrier based in Gardena, California.    

The decade of the 2000s was also busy for Dependable’s DHX division. In 2001 DHX opened sales offices in Melbourne, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. The following year DHX opened sales offices in Chicago and New York, as well as container freight stations in Charlotte, Baltimore and Boston.

DHX expanded its service to American Samoa and Tonga in 2004 after it acquired Summit Freight. It also opened its first Far East sales office in Hong Kong that year. Later in 2004 DHX spun-off its international businesses with the creation of Dependable Global Express (DGX). That led DHX, Inc. to also change its name – to Dependable Hawaiian Express, Inc. (also using the acronym DHX).

In 2005 DHX opened a distribution facility in Rancho Dominguez to manage shipping supplies to The Home Depot’s stores in Hawaii. The same year DHX acquired Cavalry Express, a Chicago-based air freight forwarder and HT&T, which led to the division beginning trucking operations in Kona, Hawaii.

DHX completed another spin-off in 2006, when its airfreight business became a new division of Dependable called Dependable AirCargo Express (DAX). That same year DHX acquired its Guam terminal and also purchased land to build terminals in Maui and Kona.

In 2007 DHX became a Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) member as well as a licensed customs broker. DHX closed out the decade by opening its Maui and Kona facilities.

In 2001 DDC purchased Loyalty Warehouse, a public warehouse in Commerce, California, that specialized in grocery and natural food storage. The division also acquired Logistics 2000, a warehousing company, in 2009. 

DGX expanded its service offerings in 2001 to include U.S. imports. It also opened sales offices in Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore in 2005. That same year, DGX opened a Customs-bonded container freight station (CFS) in Southern California. A CFS warehouse is a bonded facility that is used as transitory storage for imported and exported goods. In 2009 DGX acquired C&H Express, which was a leading West Coast ocean forwarder to Latin America. The same year DGX opened offices in Manila and Jakarta.

DLS acquired Highway Express, a 3PL, in 2005 and also added intermodal marketing company (IMC) rail service.

To end the decade, The Dependable Companies corporate brand was established in 2009 to encompass all Dependable divisions and companies.  

The 2010s-to-date

DHE purchased LTL carrier Matheson Fast Freight in 2010, which expanded the division’s freight service in California, Arizona and Nevada. In 2013, DHE acquired Classic Carriers, Inc., a northern California-based refrigerated truckload carrier.

Also in 2013 DHE acquired CAN Transport, Inc., a Carson, California-based drayage and warehouse company, as well as 3Zone Logistics, a 100,000-square foot warehouse in Carson, California that provides public, Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) and customs-bonded warehousing, as well as overweight container devanning and transloading services.

DHE’s LTL offering began three- to five-day service between California, Arizona and Nevada to and from 13 New England states in 2014. It finished construction of an 80-door cross dock service center located on 10 acres in Ontario, California in 2015. DHE then acquired Charles Diaz Trucking Co. of Fresno in 2017.

DHE’s LTL offering expanded again in 2018, beginning two- to four-day service between California, Arizona and Nevada to and from Texas and Oklahoma. The following year DHE opened its truckload headquarters facility in Mira Loma, California.

In 2020, DHE’s LTL business began two- to three-day service between California, Arizona and Nevada to and from Oregon, Washington and Idaho. 

DHX’s terminal on Maui was converted to solar energy in 2011. Then, in 2019, DHX completed construction on a 79,000-square foot warehouse and distribution center in Honolulu that is powered completely by solar energy. Last year DHX acquired Hawaiian Express Service Inc., an 85-year-old freight forwarding company that serves Hawaii, Guam and Alaska.

In 2012 DDC acquired Atlant, Inc., a Rancho Dominguez-based warehouse and trucking company.

DGX opened a sales office in Malaysia in 2011. In 2013, DGX and DAX acquired the ocean and air business of NOVO Express International, and then expanded into the Middle East. The same year the DGX terminal in Guam was converted to solar energy.

In 2014 DGX opened a sales office in Mumbai, expanding its international services to and from India. The following year DAX acquired DGX and changed its name to DGX.

Continuing the company’s conversion of facilities to solar energy, The Dependable Companies placed solar panels on its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles in 2011. This created the world’s largest solar grid on an industrial high-rise building.

Finally, in 2018, The Dependable Companies changed its enterprise name to Dependable Supply Chain Services, which now represents all of the Dependable divisions.

Conclusion

This remarkable company began operations in 1950 with one tractor. It has grown, expanded its footprints, morphed a number of times and continues to innovate more than 70 years later. 

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes Dependable Supply Chain Services (No. 148).