ArcBest's ABF Logistics acquires truckload brokerage Smart Lines

ArcBest's ABF Logistics acquires truckload brokerage Smart Lines

ArcBest expanded its non-asset truckload brokerage business through the acquisition of Smart Lines Transportation Group by its ABF Logistics subsidiary.

The acquisition is part of the transportation holding group's strategy to develop its “emerging” non-asset businesses and extend its portfolio from less-than-truckload freight to all links of the supply chain. ArcBest, formerly Arkansas Best, is the tenth-largest trucking operator in the U.S. and parent of ABF Freight System, the eighth-largest LTL carrier by revenue, according to SJ Consulting Group.

The acquisition will accelerate the growth of ABF Logistics, which increased revenue 42 percent year-over-year to about $40.7 million in the third quarter, thanks to higher shipment volumes and truckload revenue per load. ABF Logistics’ revenue was up 42 percent in the first nine months of 2014, as well, reaching $105 million.

With Smart Lines, based in Oklahoma City, ABF Logistics branches out from its Fort Smith, Arkansas headquarters. “We believe the talent pool in Oklahoma City is vibrant and thriving, making it an ideal location,” ABF Logistics President Jim Ingram said.

At the top of that talent pool is Greg Roush, founder of Smart Lines and a scion of the family that founded former less-than-truckload giant Roadway Express, now YRC Freight.

ABF Logistics named Roush branch director. “Smart Lines is a natural fit for ABF Logistics," he said. "Our customers are gaining greater access to more resources through ABF Logistics and its sister companies ABF Freight and Panther Premium Logistics.”

Roush founded Smart Lines in 2002. In recent years, the company’s revenue has grown 15 percent on average. Smart Lines works with truckload and LTL shippers. The company claims its shipper customer base is expanding by about 45 percent a year.

Roush’s grandfather Carroll Roush and great-uncle Galen Roush founded Roadway in 1930. His father David Roush ran trucking companies as well, including Rocor International.

In addition to truckload brokerage, Smart Lines also offers transportation management, dedicated fleet management and global non-asset transportation services. International services include import and export, less-than-containerload and customs services.

Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @wbcassidy_joc