Air Van Inc’s roots date back to 1957 when 2 brothers, Lex De Benton and B.D. Benton recognized a need for pick-up and delivery services from domestic and international air lines. The brothers had previously been involved in the transportation industry long before Air Van began…The two started their career in transportation and logistics in 1934 in Georgia, when they created Benton Bros Film Express, a company whose key selling feature was the pick-up and drop off of film reels after hours while theaters were closed.
During the mid to late 1930’s, many changes occurred in the transportation and logistics industry. Trucking companies were given the opportunity to deliver more goods to theaters such as bulbs, candy, popcorn, and batteries, just to name a few. In 1940, the brothers were given the rights to enter the Florida market and deliver as far south as St Augustine. Union strikes in 1946 and 1947 granted Benton Bros emergency access to all of Florida (except the panhandle which still had a service in operation) in order for the theaters to get their films. After the strikes ended, they applied for permission to service all of Florida but were denied by the Florida commission. Meanwhile, in late 1947 the Interstate Commerce Common extended Benton’s interstate rights to service all of Florida and they opened a Jacksonville terminal.
In 1948, the Florida commission granted them the rights to deliver film but not supplies. The Supreme Court overturned this in 1952 giving Benton Bros rights to deliver to all of the state. At a meeting with the National Film Carriers (NFC) in 1957, a man named Jim Clark had an idea for the consolidation of warehousing and backroom, and like many other trucking companies the Benton Bros jumped on board and started the Atlanta franchise with the addition of Jacksonville not long afterwards. This starts a new company, Benton Film Forwarding. Handling the backroom essentially meant taking the film supply and labeling it for shipping, inspecting the film for damage, and repairing any damage. It would then be shipped by Benton Bros Film Express. In 1957 the NFC organized Air Dispatch Inc (ADI) for national freight which created the need for pick-up and delivery service from domestic and international air lines. The brothers created Air Van Inc in order to fulfill this need.
Air Van Inc started with a very specific focus in mind, which was to center it’s attention around the client’s needs, not the need’s of the company. They would always find a way to get the job done and also formed an outstanding reputation as a great place to work. Over time, Air Van has expanded its footprint in North Florida and continues to be a leader in the transportation and logistics industry. We have carried the will and work ethic of Lex and B.D. through the years and continue to operate with the customer’s needs in mind. The motto here is “On Time Every Time” and we strive to bring exceptional service with every load. We welcome you to the Air Van family and look forward to serving you.