When the Price is Right

When the Price is Right

Largely dormant in the recession, merger-and-acquisition activity in trucking is reviving as the recovery boosts the value of companies and equipment.

It’s seen in the recent acquisition of companies such as same-day carrier Dynamex and logistics operator Genco, but it’s especially true for thousands of small trucking operators whose owners may be pressed hard by rising costs.

“It’s getting harder and harder for the mom-and-pop operators, and you’re going to see more consolidation in our industry than you’ve ever seen before,” said Russell L. Gottemoeller, president of Continental Express, a 250-truck carrier in Sidney, Ohio. “That consolidation has to happen for everybody to survive.”

Continental Express did its part to push it forward last month by buying Carolina Refrigerated Transport of Gaffney, S.C., giving it a foothold from which to expand next-day service throughout the Southeast as far south as Miami.

Continental is one of a growing number of midsize and smaller truckload carriers expanding by purchasing active capacity rather than simply adding new trucks.

“We don’t anticipate adding to the number of trucks in the Class 8 fleet nationwide, but we do expect to grow,” said Brian Kinsey, CEO of Brown Trucking, a southeastern regional trucker in Lithonia, Ga., that recently purchased Schrader Trucking of Knoxville, Tenn., and West Brothers of Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com.