NFI

Trucking and warehousing provider NFI has acquired United Express, which brokers freight hauling services. The purchase will expand NFI’s own brokerage services in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast Regions, and NFI is looking for more acquisitions, according to the company.

United Express, a family-owned third-party trucking and logistics company founded in 1961, is based in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, and its contracts have included shipping mail for the U.S. Postal Service. United Express owner Brian Reich and his management team are joining NFI.

NFI, based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, provides transportation, warehousing, intermodal transport, brokerage, transportation management, global logistics and real estate services to customers in North America. NFI, founded in 1932, is owned by the Brown family and has more than 8,000 employees and $1.2 billion in annual revenue, with 27.5 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space and more than 2,000 tractors and 8,200 trailers in its own fleet.

Sid Brown, NFI CEO, says the company will continue to look for strategic acquisitions that bolt on new services and expand its service footprint. NFI’s domestic brokerage and global freighting groups “have experienced tremendous growth” over the last five years, Brown says.

The most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show total business inventories steadily climbing on a year-over-year basis, which generally means that demand for freight transportation services is lower than when inventories are shrinking. But logistics businesses have been popular acquisition targets recently, with growing e-commerce driving demand for ever-faster low-priced shipping. Recent deals in the space have included private equity firm Warburg Pincus agreeing to take a minority stake in BlueGrace Logistics to help the company expand and pursue acquisitions; the Jordon Co. –backed American Fast Freight Inc. buying Global Transportation Services Inc., provider of ocean and air freight, customs brokerage, and warehouse services; and PE firm Bregal Sagemount investing in Internet Truckstop Group to help the freight services provider expand.

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