Heartland Express cuts deal for Joplin, Mo.-based CFI

August 22, 2022

Land Line Staff

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Heartland Express is expanding through acquisition for the second time this year. This time, it is acquiring the truckload business of Joplin, Mo.-based Contract Freighters Inc.

Previously this summer, North Liberty, Iowa-based Heartland Express announced its acquisition of Roaring Spring, Pa.-based truckload carrier Smith Transport.

The acquisition of CFI is Heartland Express’ largest, according to a news release. Together with the Smith Transport acquisition, this deal will make Heartland the eighth largest truckload fleet and third largest irregular route, asset-based truckload carrier in the U.S., the company reported.

The acquisition is valued at $525 million. It includes nondedicated U.S. dry van and temperature-controlled truckload business and CFI Logistica operations in Mexico from its former parent company, Montreal-based TFI International Inc. It does not include the CFI Dedicated or CFI Logistics U.S. brokerage operations. Those remain part of TFI.

Included in the Heartland Express acquisition of CFI:

  • CFI headquarters, which covers approximately 200 acres in Joplin.
  • Facilities in Laredo, Texas; West Memphis, Ark.; Taylor, Mich.; Sanford, Fla.; and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
  • About 2,100 tractors and 8,000 dry van and temperature-controlled trailers, nearly all of which are company owned.

CFI contracts with about 250 independent contractors who provide their own tractors.

The facility locations acquired by Heartland will bring its total to 30 owned terminals across the U.S. and Mexico.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022

Same brand, leadership

CFI will continue to operate from Joplin under its own brand and current leadership team, Michael Gerdin, chairman, president and CEO of Heartland Express, said in the news release.

CFI provides dry van and temperature-controlled truckload services to major customers throughout the U.S. and into Mexico and Canada.

“CFI’s strengths in the north-south Midwestern corridor will add to our driver and customer capability, and their cross-border expertise will help us capitalize on the expected long-term freight volume benefits of nearshoring activity by manufacturers,” Gerdin said in the news release.

The CFI irregular-route truckload business had become a small part of TFI’s business portfolio, Alain Bédard, chairman, CEO and president of TFI, said in the news release.

Under the purchase agreement, Heartland Express will acquire 100% of the equity of Transportation Resources Inc., the parent of Contract Freighters Inc., and the Mexican entities comprising CFI Logistica.

With this year’s acquisitions, the Heartland Express fleet has about 5,550 tractors with an average age of 2 years and about 17,800 trailers. LL

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