Tuesday, January 23, 2018

ABF Logistics acquires Bear, Transport Corp. gets major stake in Optimal Freight


Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Both ABF Logistics and Transport America hailed their acquisitions as an avenue to grow their companies. (Courtesy: ABF Logistics)
Both ABF Logistics and Transport America hailed their acquisitions as an avenue to grow their companies. (Courtesy: ABF Logistics)

Two trucking acquisitions were announced late Tuesday.

ABF Logistics of Fort Smith, Arkansas, an ArcBest company, said it had acquired Bear Transportation Services, a private, non-asset truckload brokerage firm headquartered in Plano, Texas, for cash of $26.0 million, subject to normal post-closing adjustments.

Transport Corporation of America of Eagan, Minnesota, a subsidiary of TransForce Inc. said it had acquired a majority stake in Optimal Freight LLC., a privately held non-asset based truckload freight brokerage company.

ABF Logistics said Bear Transportation Services has more than 140 employees located in Plano and Fayetteville, Arkansas. The company, founded in 1982, has approximately $120 million in annual revenue, serving a variety of industry segments.

“This company is an excellent fit for ABF Logistics, as we believe the purchase will drive growth and profitability by combining our vision, brand and customer relationships with Bear’s deep pool of experienced sales and operations team members,” said ABF Logistics President Jim Ingram. “We have admired the Bear organization for years and have been impressed with the skill sets and innovative IT concepts we have seen in action.”

Ingram said ABF Logistics had experienced rapid growth since it was formed in 2013, adding that it was the second acquisition of the year for the company after its purchase of Oklahoma City-based Smart Lines Transportation Group in January 2015.

“We are pleased to find a strategic buyer with a strong culture and a clear growth plan,” said Mike Loehr, a principal owner of Bear Transportation. “Our employees and our customers will benefit from the resources and solutions ABF Logistics and the broader ArcBest organization will provide.”

Transport America said its acquisition greatly expanded its capabilities to create solutions for its customer base.

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Chicago, Optimal Freight provides brokerage services throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. By means of data and technology, Optimal Freight manages the requirements, capabilities, and freight patterns of shippers and carriers, successfully creating solutions that maximize productivity and cost efficiency, according to Keith Klein, president of Transport America.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Transport America's customers and employees, allowing us to significantly expand our capabilities to provide solutions for customers outside of our current asset footprint," Klein said. "We look forward to working together with Noam Frankel, president of Optimal Freight, and his team to build on the success of both organizations."

"We are excited to be a part of a company which maintains the same core values as our organization was founded on,” Frankel said. “Optimal Freight has strengths in van, flatbed, refrigerated services, and over-dimensional operations, and we look forward to utilizing Transport America’s extensive full truckload and intermodal operations. With Transport America's support, we are eager to offer customers a more robust range of services in more locations."

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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