Southern Pride Trucking – Industry Leader in Jet Engine Transportation

Steve Pollock
August 2022

SAN DIEGO, CA… When the jet engines on commercial airlines “time out”, they must be replaced.  Southern Pride Trucking has built their business model and reputation on hauling these engines.  They have become the carrier of choice for the aeronautics industry, hauling about 90% of all their aircraft engines.  Contractors are dispatched to aircraft manufacturers or official jet engine rebuilders to haul rebuilt jet engines direct to the airlines, where they are swapped out.  The “timed out engine” is then returned to be rebuilt.  The load can originate at the manufacturer or at the airline itself.

Because of the nature of what they do, when Southern Pride gets the phone call, drivers must go.  The loads are light, averaging about 15,000 pounds, and are often over-dimensional, critical and time sensitive.  No chances are taken, all schedules are doable, and no mistakes can be made.  If the load can’t be delivered in perfect condition and on time, Southern Pride won’t take it.   .  These engines are valued at 2 to 24 million dollars each, so there is no margin for error.

President Tom Lynch stated, “Owner-operators are the best drivers out there.  That is why we utilize 100% Independent Contractor Teams and Solos to serve our customers.   Established teams pull open step deck trailers or curtain side step deck trailers.  Solo drivers pull double drops and must have O.D. experience, but don’t need Department of Defense clearance.  We insist that contractors own their own trailer to maximize their profits.  Everyone must be compliant and able to run all 48 states, including California.  Our contractors are paid very well and because of their high earnings, have some of the nicest trucks on the road, with some of the biggest sleepers. When you work at Southern Pride, you will learn the airline “language”, so everyone is on the same page. The average age of our drivers is around 50 and Southern Pride enjoys one of the lowest driver turnover rates in the trucking industry.  You have to run but are compensated very well for your efforts.  We place a premium on safety and value our drivers.  They allow us to do what we do successfully,”

Southern Pride Trucking has long term contracts with all of their customers, which includes most aircraft manufacturers and airlines in the USA.  . Contractors can be located anywhere and are expected to stay out for 6-8 weeks, with 2 weeks off. The expectations are high, but the rewards are great.  In addition to some of the highest compensation in the trucking industry, Southern Pride contractors are respected by the company and shippers alike.  Most shippers and receivers are open 24 hours and are waiting for the load, so they are very happy when the driver shows up.  Contractors can often stay overnight at the airport or manufacturer after they load or unload. The Southern Pride fleet is presently comprised of around 90 owner-operators and the company has the business to support others with controlled growth.  They are also adding contractors with Conestogas and Curtainside Stepdecks.  There are no company trucks or fleet owners in the Southern Pride fleet.  To be successful, the driver’s lifestyle and Southern Pride system need to intersect.  There is very little downtime and deadhead averages about 15%. Southern Pride maintains high mileage rates that equate to high earnings.  Teams average 500-600K annually and solos 300-400K.

Southern Pride Trucking was founded in 1978 in San Diego, California by David Hodgman, a Professional Truck Driver for 20 years.  David has a love for racing and is friends with Richard Petty, who owns Southern Pride Carwash.  David liked the name and christened his company “Southern Pride Trucking”.  The company was small and hauling O.D. freight with an occasional load of jet engines when Tom Lynch joined.  David and Tom liked the challenge of serving the aeronautics industry and transitioned the company to hauling nearly exclusively for it.  Southern Pride also hauls other airline equipment, and even a few military loads.  The company is still under the same ownership and management 40 years later.

If you are an owner-operator interested in the challenge and responsibility of hauling high-dollar freight, give Southern Pride Trucking a call at 800-4PRIDE1 (800-477-4331).