Venture capital and private equity investors continue to make waves in the transportation sector, as the well-funded trucking firm Transport Investments Inc. this week acquired SmartWay Transportation LLC, a multi-modal freight brokerage and transportation management company.
Pittsburgh-based Transport Investments is a provider of heavy haul, flatbed, and specialized transportation and logistics services throughout North America. The company is owned by Gemspring Capital, a Westport, Connecticut-based private equity firm that focuses on buying up firms in the aerospace & defense, business services, consumer services, financial and insurance services, healthcare services, industrial services, software and tech-enabled services, or specialty manufacturing sectors.
Transport Investments will now buy Overland Park, Kansas-based SmartWay, which offers mainly full and partial truckload (flatbed, reefer, specialty, and dry van) transportation brokerage and logistics services through a national network of carrier partners.
The announcement came the same day that Buske Logistics, an Illinois-based provider of contract logistics services in the packaging, food & beverage, and automotive industries, said it had been acquired by investors. Buske was bought by Fourshore Partners, a Miami-based private equity firm that focuses on lower middle market buyouts in the U.S. and Caribbean.
The terms of neither deal was disclosed.
The flurry of investment comes as trucking and transportation providers continue to enjoy a tight capacity market during the pandemic recovery period, allowing them to charge higher fees for hauling freight.
Other recent examples of investors acquiring transportation firms include the private equity-backed trucking fleet Ascend LLC, which in January launched itself as a dry van, full truckload carrier focused on middle mile freight markets, after rolling up acquisitions in recent years of the trucking companies Milan Supply Chain Solutions and J&B Services.
And in 2021, the private equity-backed transportation and logistics service provider (LSP) Pilot Freight Services expanded its e-commerce delivery capabilities by scooping up American Linehaul Corp., a non-asset based provider of expedited, less than truckload (LTL) services. That move came shortly after the venture capital-backed freight forwarder AIT Worldwide Logistics acquired Intelligent Logistics, a firm that offers freight forwarding, cartage, warehousing, and truckload brokerage services.
Also in 2021, the third party logistics providers (3PLs) Worldwide Express LLC and GlobalTranz Enterprises LLC moved to merge through an acquisition of both firms by a consortium of private equity investors. And the private equity-backed online trucking broker Uber Freight bought the Texas third party logistics provider (3PL) Transplace in a $2.25 billion deal.