The Eagle Group is a diverse group of five privately held companies that has grown from a livery company founded in 1903 in Wenatchee, Washington.
Wenatchee is located on Washington state’s eastern plateau between the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Columbia River on the east. It is about 150 miles east of Seattle. Its population in 1903 was less than 500 people; today’s population is approximately 35,000.
The Eagle Group’s five companies provide products and services ranging from trucking/intermodal to information technologies to emergency medical transport.
This FreightWaves Haul of Fame article will focus on three of Eagle Group’s five companies.
The “original” Eagle company, Eagle Livery & Transfer Company, started in Wenatchee in 1903 as a horse and buggy operation. Eagle’s employees built a large barn in the center of the town and the company has been operating ever since. The company provided a wide variety of services in order to generate revenue. It provided drayage between boat landings on the Columbia River and area businesses, rented rigs and teams to those needing them for short-term use, boxed and moved household goods, delivered coal and wood, delivered mail to remote locations, had a piano moving service, hauled heavy loads of newsprint to the Wenatchee Daily World and watered the main street when it was dusty.
Eagle Transfer Company
In the 1930s, the company dropped “Livery” from its name and evolved into an interstate household goods moving and storage company. Eagle Transfer served the western United States and Alaska with its own interstate operating authority. With Great Northern Railway’s intermodal unit, Eagle Transfer pioneered the first intermodal “piggyback” (trailer-on-flatcar) operations in north central Washington in 1955. A ramp was established at Wenatchee and it operated until Burlington Northern (which was created when the Great Northern merged with three other railroads in 1970) closed the facility in 1994. Moving and storage continues to be the main focus of Eagle Transfer.
Eagle Transfer Company operates multiple warehouses that store household goods as well as general merchandise. The company is affiliated with United Van Lines and, as a United agent, continues to move families throughout the Northwest and the western United States. Eagle Transfer has received the prestigious “Agent of the Month” award from United several times, symbolizing its commitment to top quality packing, moving and storage services.
Eagle Systems, Inc.
The intermodal arrangement with Great Northern Transport that began in the mid-1950s served as the foundation for the creation of Eagle Systems, Inc.
Following trucking industry deregulation in 1980, Eagle Systems expanded its intermodal trucking operations to serve the entire West Coast. Then Eagle acquired an East Coast intermodal trucking operation in 1997. The company created a new company in 2002 – Eagle Intermodal Services, Inc. – to focus exclusively on the intermodal sector.
One of Eagle Livery & Transport’s earliest lines of business was drayage – moving freight from the Columbia River to Wenatchee. Today, across the United States and western Canada, Eagle System provides dray service from commercial and feeder zones, import and export zones, intermodal drayage and U.S. mail service drayage.
In addition, Eagle Systems provides emergency and expedited services, flatbed service and temperature-controlled service. Many of the company’s terminals offer transloading, blocking and bracing, tarping and lumber reloading services.
Today, Eagle Systems is an intermodal drayage company that operates 24 terminals and performs container moves in and out of ports and rail yards across the U.S.
Eagle Intermodal Services, Inc.
Like the trucking industry, the U.S. railroad industry was deregulated in the early 1980s. Following deregulation, Eagle Systems, Inc. seized the opportunities for increased business and expanded its operations by offering services in an expanded footprint.
With its heritage of decades of intermodal service, Eagle Intermodal Services (EISI) has grown into a key supplier of intermodal terminal operations and services. EISI provides ramp/deramp services, meaning that it places trailers and containers on railroad flatcars as well as taking them off; maintenance of lift equipment; and container and chassis repair. It also offers a variety of administrative and management services, primarily for the Class I railroads.
The Eagle Group currently operates facilities nationwide, has operating authority in 48 states, and offers service to Canada as well. Over 120,000 truckload units are handled each year in 28 Eagle-operated facilities.