J.B. Hunt buy­ing lo­gis­tics firm

Trucker to pay $136 mil­lion in deal for Hous­ton-based com­pany.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - DAL­TON LAFERNEY

J.B. Hunt Trans­port Ser­vices Inc. will buy a Hous­ton-based lo­gis­tics com­pany for $136 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease.

The com­pany, Spe­cial Lo­gis­tics Ded­i­cated, has as­sets that J.B. Hunt says will al­low it to en­hance its fi­nal-mile de­liv­ery ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Fi­nal-mile de­liv­ery has come un­der the mi­cro­scope as con­sumers to­day ex­pect their goods to be at their doors in a shorter time span, within a day or two.

On­line pur­chases from retail com­pa­nies like Ama­zon.com Inc. are cred­ited for in­flu­enc­ing these kinds of moves. Ama­zon sent shock waves through the retail space last month when it an­nounced its pur­chase of Whole Foods Mar­ket Inc., a tra­di­tion­ally brickand-mor­tar store. Most re­cently, Sears Hold­ings Corp. an­nounced it will be­gin sell­ing some of its Ken­more ap­pli­ances through Ama­zon.

“I think we are see­ing a pretty strong trend in retail where the growth is with e-com­merce,” Stephens re­search an­a­lyst Brad Delco said. “The chal­lenge with an e-com­merce sup­ply chain is hav­ing den­sity in the fi­nal mile. That’s the most ex­pen­sive seg­ment of trans-

por­ta­tion.”

The growth in ful­fill­ment cen­ters na­tion­wide is an­other fac­tor. In Spe­cial Lo­gis­tics, J.B. Hunt will gain about 14 ful­fill­ment cen­ters, which are needed in a ship­per’s sup­ply chain to re­duce the time it takes to de­liver goods.

“This ac­qui­si­tion will also al­low our cus­tomers to de­ploy ‘big and bulky’ in­ven­to­ries into key mar­kets, im­prov­ing or­der ful­fill­ment times for fi­nal mile de­liv­er­ies and fur­ther en­hanc­ing our e-com­merce de­liv­ery ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” J.B. Hunt Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer and Pres­i­dent John Roberts said in the news re­lease.

Calls to Spe­cial Lo­gis­tics Ded­i­cated were not re­turned.

The com­pany will join un­der J.B. Hunt’s ded­i­cated con­tract ser­vices seg­ment, the part of the busi­ness that com­pa­nies can con­tract to be their ship­pers, ac­cord­ing to a spokesman.

In J.B. Hunt’s most re­cent earn­ings re­port, re­leased ear­lier this week, the com­pany’s ded­i­cated seg­ment ac­counted for about 24 per­cent of its rev­enue and 30 per­cent of its quar­terly profit. Delco said these num­bers

were in line with his firm’s ex­pec­ta­tions.

Delco said he has watched J.B. Hunt’s ded­i­cated seg­ment grow over the past five years, and noted Fri­day that in­vestors and con­sumers should ex­pect this trend to con­tinue. He said the goal of J.B. Hunt with ded­i­cated is to be­come em­bed­ded with its clients’ busi­ness and es­sen­tially be­come their pri­vate fleet.

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