From Chef to Trucking
4th January 2023
A family transport business that has grown from a single unit to a fleet of 14 DAF trucks is backed by a unique knowledge of the haulage industry. TDJ Transport is operated by husband and wife team Terry James-Overett and Donnah James, with over 20 years’ experience between them. They recently moved to serviced offices at Epsilon House to run their rapidly growing business.
Terry was a driver, serving his time on the road, before setting up TDJ Transport. Working from home proved challenging, as long and often unsocial hours can take their toll. Terry and Donnah took space locally but decided to move to Masterlord as Suffolk’s friendliest office village, with its networking opportunities and light, bright offices.
“It’s the perfect space for us,” he says, shared with school-friend Mark Taylor (also a driver of course!) who works on logistics. Donnah’s background in warehousing and transport makes the team a perfect match as they face daily challenges posed by a changing market, delays and occasional strikes.
Their container work with roll-on roll-off ferries forms 90% of their business, but the team’s agility means that they can seize opportunities with both local and long-distance UK haulage, and they’re also European licensed. They have strong contacts with freight forwarders, who rely on TDJ Transport’s fast reactions to provide solutions.
All their 14 trucks are based at Ipswich, allowing them to react flexibly and swiftly in a competitive market through the Port of Felixstowe, and do business with other transport companies based at Epsilon House.
Terry’s passion for trucking is matched by his skill at building complex, large Lego cars that adorn his office! It’s an impressive display with hours of painstaking construction: “I do it for relaxation!” says Terry.
Another surprising discovery is that he was head chef for some prestige hotels and restaurants before moving into haulage in 2010. Favourite food? You’ll have to ask him!
But it’s his commitment to a charitable campaign raising awareness of suicide among men that is closest to his heart, having lost close friends. Some of his trucks promote calmzone.net, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, a vital support network for men facing mental health issues.
Terry and Donnah explain that their business has grown organically: “We’ve worked hard to build it steadily and make it a success.” They’re in good company at Masterlord Office Village.
More information: tdjtransport.com