Heartland Express Buys Gordon Trucking

Heartland Express Buys Gordon Trucking

Heartland Express, one of the most profitable truckload carriers in the nation, acquired fast-growing Gordon Trucking for $300 million in cash, assets and debt.

The acquisition gives Heartland a more than $400 million revenue boost, with combined total revenue for both companies expected to top $1 billion.

North Liberty, Iowa-based Heartland is the 20th-largest truckload carrier in the U.S. ranked by revenue, according to SJ Consulting Group, and GTI, with headquarters in Pacific, Wash., ranks 28th. GTI will operate as an autonomous subsidiary.

The acquisition gives Heartland greater geographic coverage, especially a stronger presence in the West, and “significant capacity.” Until 2005, Heartland operated east of the Rocky Mountains. It now sources 16 percent of its business in the West.

Heartland estimates the combined carriers will operate the fifth-largest truckload fleet. Federal safety data show the carriers have close to 4,900 tractors.

Importantly, the two companies also have nearly 5,000 truck drivers, and good safety scores in the federal Compliance, Safety and Accountability program.

The $300 million deal is the latest of several acquisitions in trucking and logistics as companies purchase other companies to grow in a slow economy.

Swift Transportation, the largest U.S. truckload carrier, in August paid $225 million in cash and debt for $453 million Central Refrigerated Service.

Larry Gordon, GTI founder and chairman, will join Heartland’s board of directors, and sons Steve and Scott Gordon will join Heartland’s management team.

Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com and follow him at twitter.com/wbcassidy_joc.