J.B. Hunt acquiring brokerage of BNSF Logistics

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J.B. Hunt Transport Services (CCJ Top 250, No. 3) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) announced J.B. Hunt’s subsidiary, J.B. Hunt Transport, have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the brokerage operations of BNSF Logistics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

BNSF Logistics is an affiliate of BNSF Railway Company providing third-party logistics services for the movement of full truckload, flatbed, temp-controlled, drayage, expedited, and less-than-truckload services to a large and diverse group of customers through both an employee and agent model. BNSF Logistics also provides warehouse, retail specialty, heavy-haul and project services, which are not included in the transaction.

“As we continue to work with BNSF Railway to develop solutions that drive value for customers, we recognized a unique opportunity to combine the companies’ efforts to serve the transportation market with 3PL services and leverage the investments J.B. Hunt has made in our technology platform, J.B. Hunt 360,” said John Roberts, CEO of J.B. Hunt. “This acquisition is another step forward in our mission to create the most efficient transportation network in North America.”

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. The transaction will be funded using J.B. Hunt’s existing cash balance and is expected to close before year-end.

BNSF Logistics provides value-added 3PL services for BNSF Railway. Upon closing the transaction, BNSF Railway and J.B. Hunt will enter into a long-term service agreement whereby J.B. Hunt will continue to provide those services for BNSF Railway.

J.B. Hunt and the company now known as BNSF Railway have been working together for decades, developing in 1989 a double-stack shipping solution that would complement both rail and trucking services, a first for modern transportation. In March 2022, the two companies launched a joint effort to substantially improve capacity in the intermodal marketplace.

The day prior to the deal being announced, J.B. Hunt President Shelley Simpson said at an investor conference that she believes trucking may now be "coming out of a freight recession," adding that customers "are cautiously optimistic about the rest of the year."

This is at least the 18th deal made this year by a CCJ Top 250 fleet.

[Related: J.B. Hunt boosting intermodal capacity with BNSF partnership]