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VOL. 11 | NO. 4 | Saturday, January 27, 2018

JNJ Express Enjoys Latest Growth Spurt

By Michael Waddell

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Family-owned and operated JNJ Express is a bona fide Memphis success story. Last year, the asset-based transportation and logistics provider celebrated its 25th anniversary, and the company is set to grow by as many as 100 new trucks this year while also scouting sites for a new facility.

JNJ specializes in just-in-time service, operating a fleet of more than 450 trucks, and is hazmat certified with 48 states’ authority. The company provides truckload service, handles brokerage needs, and maintains a large spotting/shuttle operation.

“We’re one of FedEx’s primary carriers and one of UPS’ largest independent carriers,” said Steve West, JNJ director of information technology.

John Ennis Sr. founded the company in 1992 as a spotting and shuttle service, and then formed JNJ Logistics LLC, a full service 3PL provider backed by JNJ Express, in 1998. In 2013, the company expanded further by opening a terminal in Ellenwood, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.

JNJ Express, founded in 1992, recently ordered 500 new trucks and is scouting for a location to build its third facility. (Submitted)

Today the business includes Ennis’ two sons, John Jr. and Nathan, who are both actively involved in day-to-day operations.

JNJ operates two main facilities in South Memphis, including a truck repair center, and is scouting for a location where it will build a new facility. Future growth could also include terminals in Dallas, Texas, and Miami, Florida.

“Operating some of the best equipment on the road” is one of the top company mantras.

In early December, JNJ announced a purchase agreement with Summit Truck Group for 500 new International LT sleeper tractors, marking JNJ’s largest vehicle purchase to date. The trucks began delivery in November and will continue through December 2020, including about 100 new trucks this year.

“JNJ Express and Summit Truck Group have successfully forged a two-sided relationship that has proven to be very positive for both parties,” said Jim Boncosky, Summit area sales director for Memphis. “The owners and managers negotiated the original arrangement, but it has been the employees of both sides that have worked to develop relationships that have become the basis for both parties working hard every day to insure that JNJ’s trucks are on the road. The partnership that has evolved can hopefully continue to strengthen and grow as we watch both companies mature and succeed.”

The new trucks include the latest and most complete array of safety options available to the trucking industry. The trucks employ the same safety systems available on most of today’s automobiles, including electronic stability control, radar-controlled collision mitigation braking, lane departure, camera-identified speed limit recognition, and all-position disc brakes that provide the shortest stopping distance available.

“We’re very safety conscious and fuel economy conscious, so we don’t run old trucks,” West said. “When you see the blue JNJ trucks around Memphis, they’re all new trucks.”

The safety systems also will have the capability to transmit data and pictures via telematics in a “real-time” format. The company has used electronic logs, which became federally mandated on Dec. 15, for many years and continues to enhance its technology.

“We also have a large safety department primarily made up of retired police and highway patrol officers who help us to run a safe fleet, to counsel drivers and to make sure we’re in compliance with regulations,” West said.

The company currently consists of roughly 350 full-time truck drivers along with 50 office employees.

“We’re in a big hiring mode right now for both office and truck drivers. We’re going through a growth spurt and always looking for good people,” West said. “There’s a national shortage of truck drivers, so recruiting is a very big challenge for us to hire more drivers. We own a lot of trucks, and for our excess capacity we employ Memphis-based independent truck drivers.”

From a philanthropy standpoint, the company is involved in the Memphis community, working with the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, the city’s annual Operation Christmas Basket program, the St. Louis Church and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. JNJ recently donated a full classroom of Kindle Fire tablets to the third-grade class at Riverwood Elementary.

“It’s our way of saying thank-you to the community for supporting us for all these years,” West said.

PROPERTY SALES 51 426 3,824
MORTGAGES 27 229 2,508
BUILDING PERMITS 178 829 8,785
BANKRUPTCIES 35 152 2,056