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Brown Trucking acquires West Brothers’ Companies

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
November 09, 2010

Metro Atlanta-based dedicated short-haul truckload carrier James Brown Contracting Inc. (Brown Trucking) recently announced it has acquired West Brothers’ Companies, a Durham, N.C.-based provider of transportation, logistics, and leasing of commercial fleet services in the southeast.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

West is comprised of four companies, according to Brown officials:
-a dedicated trucking company, West Brothers Transportation Services Inc.;
-a provider of global freight brokerage services, West Brothers Transportation Services LLC;
-an asset-based full-service truck leasing and maintenance company, Logistics Leasing LLC; and
-a provider of contract warehousing and distribution services, West Logistics Inc.

The majority of West’s customer base is in verticals like paper, construction, machinery, personal care products, consumer packaging, and pharmaceuticals, while Brown said it has traditionally focused on paper and packaging, major appliances, consumer packaged goods, and building materials sectors.

Each West business unit has dozens of customers, and the company is well diversified into several industry verticals, and many customers utilize two or more of the West companies, according to Brown.

Brown said that each group will become a division of Brown Trucking, with Brown acquiring three new business lines in warehousing, contract leasing, and maintenance and brokerage. And through this acquisition, West brings 220 trucks and 600 trailers into Brown’s fleet, which now stands at 810 trucks and 3,500 trailers.

Brown Trucking CEO Brian Kinsey told LM there were multiple reasons behind this acquisition.

“Brown was looking for a company that operated a dedicated trucking business with a different and more diversified customer base,” said Kinsey. “The fact that most of West’s business was within our current footprint offered an opportunity for both companies to improve their asset utilization. Brown was also looking for non-asset based related services that could be integrated with dedicated trucking to provide more value to our customer base.”

Prior to this deal, Brown was not actively engaged in warehousing or contract equipment leasing.  Kinsey said Brown did about half of its vehicle maintenance in-house, and, with the Schrader acquisition this past August, it now has a small brokerage operation based in eastern Tennessee.

In terms of shipper benefits of this deal, Kinsey cited geographic expansion for West into
other markets in the Southeast, “which will give them the high quality of service they are getting in the Carolinas, an integrated logistics offering that includes inbound transportation, warehousing and warehouse management, freight management and brokerage, dedicated transportation, private fleet full-service leasing and contract fleet maintenance.”

He added that upgrades as a result of the acquisition include satellite tracking and
communication in all trucks and trailers, and an upgraded IT infrastructure that will provide periodic reporting on a number of key metrics to help customers run their businesses.

Regarding personnel, Kinsey explained that no layoffs are anticipated as the result of the acquisition, noting that Brown intends to run all four of the business units as separate divisions of Brown, and the employees will remain employees of their respective business unit.

“The two companies have synergies in approach, management style and culture,” said Tommy West, Chairman and co-owner of West, in a statement. “We’re confident this move is the right fit for the future of West and Brown.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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