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Trucking company lands $50-M contract

Gulfport — Dyess Trucking Inc. is planning a major expansion following landing a $50-million, two-year contract to deliver siding from International Paper’s Masonite Division in Laurel to stores around the country.

“As far as we can find out, this is the largest contract to ever be given to a trucking firm on the Coast,” said Dyess Trucking president Robert “Sonny” Dyess. “It is probably going to quadruple our employment levels. It is quite a jump.”

Dyess has joined with Landstar Ranger, the fourth largest trucking firm in the country, to contract with International Paper (IP) for delivery of Masonite siding. Dyess said he plans to increase the number of truckers employed by the firm from 32 to 157, and the office staff from seven to 20. A new office will be opened in Laurel.

Landstar Ranger doesn’t own any trucks, but acts as an agent for firms with a total ofabout 13,000 trucks. Dyess said in addition to providing financial backing for the contract with IP, Landstar will also arrange return loads for Dyess trucks after the Masonite has been delivered. That will save time and money for the trucking company.

Dyess attributed landing the contract to the backing of Landstar Ranger combined with knowledge of the Masonite yard in Laurel. Another factor in the company’s favor was a computer system for accurate tracking of trucks. “The electronic logistics is one of the things that helped us win the contract,” he said. “We do 95% of it on the Internet using e-mail to communicate.”

And although the contract is for two years, Dyess expects it to be continued indefinitely as long as Dyess Trucking meets IP’s stringent requirements for 98% of loads to be picked up and delivered on time.

Dyess said one advantage of the contract is that it allows drivers to leave Laurel on a Sunday night, and be back home Friday to spend the weekend with their families.

“We will have 2,500 loads going to Texas this year. You can go to Texas and back twice in a week, make good revenue, and still be home for the weekend. One of the problems the Coast has had is that we haven’t had a lot of freight out of here. This contract allows us to put together a package to get drivers in and out of here. And that goes for Mobile and the Louisiana area, too, not just the Mississippi Coast.”

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