J.B. Hunt To Acquire North Texas-Based BNSF Logistics’ Brokerage Ops

Fort Worth-based BNSF has fostered a partnership with J.B. Hunt over the past three decades. The industry giants announced a deal that consolidates their market-leading positions in the logistics landscape.

BNSF Logistics, a North Texas-based leader in third-party logistics services, is on track for the acquisition of its brokerage operations by J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., as per a joint announcement.

BNSF Logistics, an arm of Burlington Northern Santa Fe with headquarters at Dallas’ Cypress Waters development, provides various 3PL transportation services—from full truckload and flatbed to temp-controlled and expedited solutions—through direct employees and agents. The acquisition excludes warehouse, retail specialty, heavy-haul, and project services.

Katie Farmer

In a statement, Katie Farmer, president and CEO of Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway, said the agreement with J.B. Hunt reflects a “shared commitment to provide industry-leading intermodal service to our customers.”

John Roberts, CEO of Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt, spotlighted the strategic value of the deal, calling it “another step forward” in the company’s mission to “create the most efficient transportation network in North America.”

As it continues to work with BNSF Railway on innovative solutions that drive value, Roberts said the company saw a “unique opportunity” to combine efforts in 3PL services and capitalize on investments J.B. Hunt has made in technology, namely the J.B. Hunt 360° platform.

Decades of partnership

The deal continues over “30 years of partnership between BNSF and J.B. Hunt,” said BNSF CEO Farmer.

As longtime partners, J.B. Hunt and BNSF Railway are known for disruptive contributions to the transportation industry. Together, the companies developed a double-stack shipping solution in 1989, a disruptive “first in modern transportation” at the time.

More recently, in March 2022, the two companies set out to improve capacity in the intermodal marketplace, according to Farmer.

Last year, J.B. Hunt also announced plans to channel a larger portion of its intermodal business, which accounts for almost half of the company’s total revenue, through BNSF’s operations, per the Wall Street Journal.

J.B. Hunt and BNSF deal expected to close by year end 

The acquisition of BNSF Logistics’ brokerage operations is expected to close before the end of the year, funded using J.B. Hunt’s existing cash balance, according to the companies. 

Following the transaction’s closing, the acquired brokerage operations will become part of J.B. Hunt’s Integrated Capacity Solutions unit.

At that time, BNSF Railway and J.B. Hunt will enter into a long-term service agreement, with J.B. Hunt continuing to provide value-added 3PL services for BNSF Railway, as per the announcement.

Listed on the NASDAQ as JBHT, J.B. Hunt Transport Services aims to be “the most efficient transportation network in North America.” Today, the Fortune 500 company boasts over 162,000 pieces of trailing equipment and, through its J.B. Hunt 360° digital freight marketplace, provides access to nearly a million trucks with service offerings from intermodal to refrigerated and truckload operations.

BNSF Railway, an operating subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway-owned Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC, is a dominant player in North American freight transportation with a network covering 32,500 track miles across 28 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. BNSF touts its commitment to powering and provisioning American homes and businesses, moving goods from agricultural produce to industrial commodities. 

The company’s logistics unit “has shown strong performance in serving customers of all sizes,” J.B Hunt executive Brad Hicks said in a statement. 

Hicks says the BNSF Logistics acquisition—complemented by J.B. Hunt’s “best-in-class intermodal” and 360box power-only service offering—will be a growth opportunity for J.B. Hunt and offer “greater service capabilities for BNSF Logistics’ employee and agent model.”

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