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VOL. 133 | NO. 100 | Friday, May 18, 2018

Dot Transportation To Open Terminal In West Memphis

By Michael Waddell

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With a new distribution terminal opening in West Memphis this month, Dot Transportation, an affiliate of Dot Foods Inc., is looking to hire new truck drivers to add to its fleet.

To help with that objective, the company recently announced higher wages for its drivers fleetwide.

As the largest food industry redistributor in North America, Dot Foods carries 127,000 products from 930 food industry manufacturers including products for the foodservice, convenience store, retail and vending sectors. The company was started in the back of a station wagon in 1960 and has grown to $7 billion in sales last year.

Dot Transportation, an affiliate of Dot Foods Inc., is hiring drivers as it opens a new trucking terminal in West Memphis, Arkansas. (Daily News/Houston Cofield)

In November of 2014, Dot Transportation started a distribution center in Dyersburg to serve its Deep South region.

“Over the past three years, we’ve slowly been opening terminals,” said Matt Duggan, Dot Foods Tennessee general manager. “Our first was in Sikeston, Missouri; the second was in Jackson, Mississippi; and Memphis will be the third terminal we’ve opened in the region.”

The new West Memphis location allows Dot to extend its hiring radius and mine the Mid-South’s driver talent.

“We want to tap into the CDLA (commercial driver’s license, Class A ) population in Shelby County and the surrounding counties,” Duggan said. “We already have 10 drivers from the Memphis area, which is enough to support a terminal location right now in Memphis, and we plan to add to that number.”

This year Dot Foods Tennessee hopes to hire 40 more drivers overall for the Dyersburg center and the three satellite terminals. Dot employs more than 1,500 drivers at 11 its distribution centers and 16 terminals across the U.S., with the Dyersburg center currently counting 87 drivers.

“Our main goal is for our drivers to be able to connect and unhook the trailers from freight,” said Andy Sentell, Dot Foods Tennessee director of transportation. “It gives them a safe location. It’s completely fenced in, and it gives them a concrete pad to disconnect from the trailers and hook up to the new ones. We added the electronic fence to add some security there.”

Dot’s average full-time driver made $80,000 last year, and the company expects that will increase by $3,000 to $4,000 in 2018.

“It’s no secret that there is shortage in the industry of drivers. There are more driving jobs than there are drivers available right now,” Sentell said. “With our new wage increase, benefits and the variety of schedules we offer that get drivers more weekly home time, we’re confident we have one of the absolute best jobs on the market.”

The company owns and operates its entire truck fleet, and touts its round-trip dispatch and home time.

“One of the reasons why there’s a driver shortage nationwide is drivers don’t like to be away from home,” Duggan said. “We typically get our drivers home around two nights per week, and that’s very uncommon in our industry.”

The pay increase is the largest at one time in Dot Transportation’s history and covers both full-time and part-time drivers on all schedules. Dot’s driver pay consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of the transportation industry, and the company offers full-time drivers a 401(k) and profit sharing, paid time off, and a benefits package valued at $22,000.

“All of our new drivers go through a two-week driver orientation and training, and they will spend anywhere from four to six weeks on the road with one of our over-the-road trainers,” said Dot driver trainer Michael Sassano, who has driven for the company for the past 15 years. “We require a CDLA license and a Hazmat and Tanker endorsement, both standard in the industry and common for most driving jobs.”

In the company’s 58-year history, Duggan notes there has never been a layoff at Dot Foods, and the employee turnover is extremely low – 12 percent compared to a national average of 95 percent.

“We want to hire student drivers as well as very experienced drivers,” he said.

Drivers can apply for positions at the new Memphis terminal at DriveforDot.com. The company plans to open more terminals in the region in the coming years, but exact locations have yet to be determined.

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