Forward Air Corp., best known for providing expedited ground transportation service supporting the air cargo industry, said late yesterday it acquired Central States Trucking and Central States Logistics from Central States Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at $95 million.
The transaction, which is expected to close during the first quarter, gives Greenville, Tenn.-based Forward a foothold in the drayage segment in the U.S. Midwest. Based in Bensenville, Ill., Central States Trucking operates in nine Midwestern states and generated an estimated $66 million in revenue in 2013. About 60 percent of its revenue comes from intermodal and container drayage, with 20 percent coming from airport-to-airport line-haul service that is Forward's core competency. The balance comes from international warehousing and dedicated contract carriage services.
Under the transaction, Central States' management team, led by President and CEO Bryan Grane, will be retained. The company has been in business for 33 years.
For Forward, the deal adds drayage services to its offerings. The company built its reputation providing time-definite surface transportation services as an alternative to more-expensive traditional air freight. It dominates that niche today with terminals located at or near major airports in 85 U.S. and Canadian cities.
"For a number of years, we have had the desire to enter the drayage space via [the] purchase of a scalable platform," Bruce A. Campbell, Forward's chairman, president, and CEO, said in a statement. Central States met the criteria, Campbell said.