Supply chain solutions provider J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. yesterday said it had agreed to acquire the brokerage operations of BNSF Logistics LLC, the trucking services third-party logistics provider (3PL) unit of railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC.
According to Lowell, Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt, the purchase will provide efficient, value-added solutions for customers across the North American supply chain. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The deal extends a long-running cooperation between the two companies, which in 1989 developed a double-stack shipping solution that would complement both rail and trucking services, calling it a first for modern transportation. And in 2022, they launched a joint effort to improve capacity in the intermodal marketplace by expanding their infrastructure of containers, real estate, railcars, and chassis.
Following the closing of the transaction, the brokerage operations of BNSF Logistics will roll into J.B. Hunt’s Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS) for segment reporting purposes.
Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF Logistics provides for the movement of full truckload, flatbed, temp-controlled, drayage, expedited, and less-than-truckload (LTL) services. BNSF Logistics also provides warehouse, retail specialty, heavy-haul, and project services, which are not included in the J.B. Hunt transaction.
“This agreement with J.B. Hunt reflects our companies’ shared commitment to provide industry-leading intermodal service to our customers,” Katie Farmer, president and CEO of BNSF Railway, said in a release. “This continues more than 30 years of partnership between BNSF and J.B. Hunt and builds on our announcement to further integrate our joint services.”
“BNSF Logistics has shown strong performance in serving customers of all sizes,” Brad Hicks, executive vice president of People and president of Highway Services at J.B. Hunt, said in a release. “Complemented with our best-in-class intermodal and J.B. Hunt 360box power-only service offering, this acquisition will provide a compelling value proposition for customers, growth opportunities for J.B. Hunt and greater service capabilities for BNSF Logistics’ employee and agent model.”
An industry analyst backed the move, saying it made sense for both parties as the brokerage operation was not a core business for BNSF but is for J.B. Hunt, TD Cowen’s Jason Seidl said in an email note. The acquisition also sends a signal to the market that the often turbulent relationship between the two transport giants is likely in a better place, he said.