New Jersey-based cold chain solutions company RLS Logistics is back on the acquisition trail, announcing today that it has purchased two cold storage warehousing providers this week, expanding its network to become one of the 10 largest cold chain third party logistics (3PL) companies in North America.
The acquisitions come amid a rush of investment in the temperature controlled warehousing sector, which has seen waves of consolidation in recent years. The arena is led by powerhouses such as the cold storage giant Lineage Logistics, which has bought up dozens of cold-chain warehouses in recent years, and reloaded with fresh cash in January when it gained $1.7 billion in new financial backing. Other players in the area include established giants like Americold and fast-growing, venture-backed newcomers like Vertical Cold Storage.
Those trends have created an industry where over 60% of public cold storage operations in the U.S. are owned by only a handful of companies, according to RLS. But despite that heavy competition, Mount Laurel, New Jersey-based RLS says it can compete against the national chains thanks to its family-owner business structure that gives it the agility to make quick decisions to serve its clients. The firm has also made some acquisitions of its own in recent years, such as an 83,000 square-foot facility in central Massachusetts it bought in 2020.
In its latest maneuver, RLS said it has bought Hutt Trucking and Logistics in Holland, Michigan, and Performance Cold Storage in Salt Lake City, Utah. With those new units, RLS now offers over 55 million cubic feet of cold storage capacity.
Hutt Trucking and Logistics—now known as RLS Hutt—is a 3PL warehouse specializing in cold storage and asset based trucking. RLS has named Ken Whah as the unit’s new president and says the deal gives it a foothold in the Great Lakes region. And Performance Cold Storage—now known as RLS Performance—offers a 130,000-square foot operation providing cold chain solutions with multiple temperature cold storage warehousing, valued added case picking, and transportation services. RLS says its Utah location allows frozen and refrigerated customers to easily access the 11 western U.S. states within two day transit.