Hirshbach buys John Christner Trucking, boosts its reefer carrier ranking

February 18, 2022

Chuck Robinson


Hirschbach Motor Lines expects a big boost from its acquisition of refrigerated carrier John Christner Trucking.

Hirschbach announced the acquisition in a news release and on its Facebook page. The transaction is set to close in early April

The revenue from the combined companies should exceed $1 billion, according to the news release. With the acquisition, Hirschbach will have more than 3,000 trucks and 5,000 trailers. It also gets a $150 million third-party logistics operation.

“These two organizations should be united and fit together like two puzzle pieces,” Brad Pinchuk CEO and owner of Hirschbach, said in the news release. “JCT covers the map coast to coast along the southern tier of the U.S., while Hirschbach’s density is largely east of the Rocky Mountains.”

The deal makes Hirschbach one of the nation’s largest refrigerated carriers, the news release says, bumping it from sixth on Transport Topics 2021 ranking to second on the list.

John Christner Trucking adds 800 trucks to the Hirschbach fleet.

John Christner founded Sapulpa, Okla.-based John Christner Trucking in 1986. Christner started out in trucking 1960s hauling produce from California and returning to the coast with juice or meat. That remains the core of the company’s business, according to the news release. The founder’s sons, Danny Christner and Darryl Christner, took over the company, expanded its size and started the logistics business.

John Christner and Darryl Christner will be retiring, according to the news release, but Danny Christner joins Hirschbach as president of John Christner Trucking. He formerly was CEO of Christner Trucking.

The two companies’ cultures are well aligned, Pinchuk said in the news release. Both are driver-centric and focused on taking care of their people so they can take care of customers, he said.

“We’re proud to be truckers and the roles we play in servicing our customers and feeding this great country,” Pinchuk said in the news release.

Looking for ways to grow

Hirschbach has been looking for ways to grow, according to Pinchuk in a June 2021 Hirschbach video. The company has partnered with other companies, including Chicago-based Pigeon Transportation and Freight Services and South Salt Lake City, Utah-based Inland X.

The company also has sought acquisition opportunities.

Hirschbach acquired the West Coast Refrigerated Division of Kansas City, Kan.-based Riverside Transport in November 2020.

In June 2021, Hirschbach bought Eagan, Minn.-based refrigerated carrier Lessors Inc. That added 200 drivers and 300 trucks to the Hirschbach fleet.

Also, in a push to add qualified drivers, Hirschbach began a driver training program in March 2021 and in May 2021 began hiring drivers without a CDL for its training program, according to the June 2021 video.


Dubuque, Iowa-based Hirschbach Motor Lines, founded in 1935, provides refrigerated truckload services to all 48 states.

According to the FMCSA SAFR information, over the past 24 months Hirshbach has 1,413 vehicles inspected with an out-of-service rate of 10.5%. The national average is 21.13%. With 2,984 drivers inspections, the out-of-service rate was 1.1%, while the national average was 5.77%. LL

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