Yandell Truckaway wins California wine country logistics award

The third and second generations of Yandell Truckaway: Alicia Yandell Hamilton, vice president, and John Yandell Jr., president (David Cervenka, 2015)


363 Industrial Way, Benicia 94510; 888-983-5831; yandell-scw.com

Yandell Truckaway an asset-based trucking company started in the San Francisco Bay area in 1945. Yandell’s main haul is wine and related packaging.

Employing 70, the company is a California Air Resources Board–compliant carrier and an EPA SmartWay transport partner.

The Yandell family, led by John Yandell Jr. and his daughter Alicia Yandell Hamilton, also operates SC Warehouses, Inc. It has 1 million square feet of food-grade, temperature-controlled and bonded storage space in Benicia and American Canyon.

Hamilton, vice president, talked with the Business Journal about capital investments the company is making to keep pace with customer advancements and the looming trucker shortage.

What have been recent highlights for your company?

Alicia Yandell Hamilton: We just purchased 30 new 2015 Peterbilt trucks that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, on Dec. 14 we are going live with a new transportation management system (TMS) that will bring our organization to the forefront of technological advancements in the transportation industry.

Our new TMS will allow us to text message drivers and receive real-time status updates on our loads. We are very excited about this next chapter of our organization.

This year we celebrated our 70th birthday and are eager to continue to grow and develop our business.

How has your operation changed in the past few years?

Hamilton: We are more optimistic about the future. After the recession, just like other companies, we were hesitant to make long-term investments. This past year, we have made two major investments, in our new trucks and our new TMS system. We are committed to continuing this business.

We aren’t the mom-and-pop shop trucking company that the general public probably thinks of when they envision what a trucking company is. We have invested in hiring and recruiting local talent and developing our internal systems to mirror the systems of our customers. We deal with quite a few Fortune 500 companies, so we realized the need to enhance our internal systems to mirror theirs.

How is your operation set to change?

Hamilton: We are currently looking at various upgrades and or potential endeavors to not only elevate our current operation but broaden our scope. We created our own internal software platform to manage wine consolidation, in addition, we have a brokerage division to service existing customers with shipments that our asset based group cannot handle. This past year we shipped two drills to Nigeria, for example, all from using our current internal resources and utilizing partner shippers.

How healthy is the wine business?

Hamilton: As a vendor to the wine industry for 70 years, it is incomprehensible the growth that we have seen over the past few years. Having 70 years of historical experience, we are able to diagnose how the wine industry has changed and developed, particularly in California. It is the leading edge of not only the technology industry, but also the wine industry.

With the wine industry being so close to Silicon Valley, the increase in technology in the wine industry has been a driving force behind our own internal technological advancements.

What are top opportunities and challenges?

Hamilton: Currently, our major challenge is finding qualified truck drivers. There is a major truck driver shortage facing the United States. It is estimated that the United States will lose over 400,000 truck drivers over the next few years. It is not an issue for us to find freight to haul or trucks to operate. It is finding drivers that have the safety qualifications to haul the freight.

Our concern is that while capacity is shrinking, it will cause freight rates to increase. And rates will not increase due to rising operational costs, but because the demand will surely outweigh the supply of drivers.