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Mega-carriers combine: Gordon Trucking acquired by Heartland Express

| November 12, 2013

Heartland-ExpressOne of the country’s largest carriers, Heartland Express (No. 39 on the CCJ Top 250), has acquired 100 percent of the stock of another major carrier, Gordon Trucking (No. 58 in the CCJ Top 250), in a transaction valued at around $300 million. 

Heartland says it will now have a total revenue of $1 billion annually and its terminal network will span from Washington state to Florida and from Pennsylvania to Southern California. The new combination will also make it the fifth largest truckload fleet in North America, it says. 


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At closing, the total transaction is valued on a debt-free, cash-free basis at about five times Gordon Trucking’s adjusted EBITDA for the twelve months ended Sept. 30. EBITDA, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, are a measure of a company’s performance. 

Heartland says the company’s have a goal of approximately $30 million improvement in consolidated adjusted operating income through 2017. 

Gordon stockholders received about $110 million in payments along with $40 million in Heartland common stock. 

  • maggie44

    Is this the Gordon Trucking from Pacific WA? Anyone know?

  • Merrikytten

    yes it is Gti in Pacific WA

  • g

    This is a better deal than Loser Knight..buying Loser USA Truck…….

  • EF McHenry

    Now I ask, somebody anybody, How The Hell Is This Corpratocracy we live in today here in America in anyway still a competitive free market? And when these beasts of Wall street collude together in a massive lobby group like the ATA to get the govt rules, reg, policies, codes, standards etc etc they desire, in any way shape or form Laissez Faire?
    What happened to the Sherman and Clayton Anti-Trust Laws??
    Should we now say Competition leads to Cooperation which leads to Monopoly?? It is heading there @ 100mph…..hand in hand with the govt

  • Joseph Mann

    These are both Quality SAFE companies that pay well and take good care of both Drivers and Customers. I have no problem and see nothing anti business or anti American about it. Almost every trucking company started with one to ten trucks. Proper management and good long term business models allowed both of these companies to grow and prosper. As a thirty year veteran of the trucking industry , I would rather have our highways full of GTI /Heartland trucks than gippo fly-by-night single truck outfits that will haul anything anywhere for “fuel money ” because they never learn that owning a truck is a BUSINESS not a JOB and there is a never ending supply of them keeping rates low . I have seen way too many of these type operations where money that Should have been spent on maintenance and business development got spent on Bass boats and Vegas vacations. These ” Mega Carriers ” buy trucks and trailers by the gross , research bid and CONTRACT on the basis of making a profit.
    You do not get to that position by cutting rates and hauling freight for “fuel money “

  • Dave Nichols

    well said Joe

  • mike

    it is

  • Jerry

    not so fast; these generalization’s w/Owner Ops- I bet in large part some of those same Owner Ops, get stiffed on payment freight rates by scum Brokers. Large Brokers- its not uncommon for truck ordered buy not used to not be paid. (Then a cheap freight all-nighter drive to play catch up.) To be Followed up, by a breakdown/tow- where the big ‘Dealer’ sees the Owner Operators Truck and gives a repair where a few parts were not fully reinstalled. Thereby, making the shop call 2-3 times to get the same job done correctly. (During this time, the Owner Op. works more cheap freight all-nighters. to find some elusive break even point. Where the ability to generate time to better dedicate to finding a “someone” whom pays a fair wage. While never achieving a solid preventative maintenance program due to a lack of time dedicating to reading research on peripheral problems that has an affect of direct problems.) But, ur argument on bass boat & vegas vacation is probably anecdotal…did u find one driver whom achieved ur argument or r u just saying…

  • Jerry

    Heartland; a driver can find some investment money to focus on personal growth!!! :)

  • wrenchmonkey

    well gotta love bailouts… GTI owed 300 million in truck/trailer debt and other expenses.

  • faxpaper1

    Joseph, here in lye’s the problem. I myself have no problem with trucking companies merging. However, with government involvement involved deeply within the trucking industry, with their grant programs, it is causing companies to lower their standards & drivers pay. The company I am presently with, its a small company with approximately 100 to 150 trucks, which hauls specialty goods, such as glass, throughout the western states & Canada, has had several experienced drivers who had many years with GTI, come over & drive for them. The main reason given was the decline in miles, pay & waiting for loads. This scenario has been playing out throughout the trucking industry for more than ten years. I have seen & experienced this personally going back to 2005. When drivers become a number to company’s, the pay, standards & service all suffer. The government needs to stop paying & utilizing these large, low paying trucking company’s as their own personal truck driving schools. It’s no wonder we are seeing a big increase in truck driving accidents & deaths. As a truck driver with more than 25-years experience under my belt, it upsets & saddens me to see the decline within the trucking industry when it comes to helping other truck drivers in distress & the lack of common courtesy. I would like to put out a pledge to all my fellow truck drivers to help out & put their fellow truck drivers first when it comes to courtesy, such as passing, merging & giving them space while they are disabled on the roadside. while at the fuel pumps, move out when you are through. Safe trucking everyone.

  • Joseph Mann

    The theory that large carriers cut rates and pay poorly is a myth. The fact that the Government subsidizes the training of entry level drivers is not a conspiracy to run O/O s and small fleets out of business. The fact is we need more drivers and there has to be a system in place to recruit and train them . The system is not perfect but as I stated earlier the playing field is level and you are free to buy as many trucks as you can afford and take advantage of that subsidy yourself. The numbers are out there and provable, these two companies pay drivers above average per mile pay rates and run quality equipment.
    Let us face facts, YES things are much different for all of us then they where twenty or thirty years ago. Most drivers today have a cellphone and or a qualcom. type device to communicate and get help. I still stop if a driver indicates he needs a hand , some don’t or won’t and that has always been the case. The days of a solo driver being able to run 1000 miles a day are gone and so is the additional money a driver could make doing so , still this job pays better than about any other job that you can get your foot in the door with no experience , no degree and no money in your pocket and the job comes with free housing too! The people you talk to that leave company A or B to go to company C or D because they “didn’t get any miles” or ” sat too much ” I generally find these are the same drivers that won’t go here or there or x miles from the home twenty or have to be home every weekend etc and they are why the industry suffers a 100 plus percent turnover rate annually. These individuals are not a good fit for the OTR trucking industry and should get out the world needs burger flippers and dirch diggers too.

  • Jerry

    Owner Operators, regardless of the Classical School Training they possess to instruct students to learn how to drive can not hire newbies. Why…no insurance company underwrites less than 2 years experience. (I can find students, but I cant hire only due to insurance requirements on using experienced drivers. That is not a level playing field.

  • Chicken Hawk

    Alrighty, i will now reject your reality and replace it with my own. Heartland is a crap company to work for unless your a ultra deluxe company man suck butt. I worked there for 6 months. You get to spend all night driving and all day dealing with 9 people to get your next load. You get 34 hour resets at the house loaded every 2 weeks. They call you and wake you up on Saturday when you are home just to bug you about the load you need to pick up monday. That company couldn’t care less about it’s drivers if they tried to. Gordon was in debt and Heartland basically bought all their accounts and equipment for spare change.

    As for the guy who thinks mega carriers aren’t doing any damage to rates. Go ask around at truck stops. Go find a few green horns, you should be able to spot them. They all make $500 a week after taxes if they’re lucky and they get to be on the road a minimum of 3-5 weeks and get 1 day at home for every week they stay out. They get these guys fresh out of school and get 10 grand a pop in tax incentives for each one that solos out and pulls a load. Then after a year or so the miles drop and they move on.

    I worked for a company like that right out of school myself. The second time they jacked me on miles I was out of there. These companies don’t care about anything but that bottom dollar. None of them. Mega carrier or local with 25 trucks. You and I are a replaceable piece of the equation. no more important than a gallon of washer fluid.

    Brokers and Mega Carriers are scum of the earth who will screw over a driver every opportunity they can for every nickle they can. That’s why rates are so low. you have Brokers that need to make all of the cash. You have Mega Carriers and immigrants who drive for peanuts.

    I’ve been in this industry just over 4 years and i already have it figured out. Unless you’re lucky and know what you’re doing, it doesn’t pay to be an owner op these days. I know, I researched it long and hard and put together a business plan. Just couldn’t pull the trigger on it. I wasn’t going to be making much more as an Owner op after expenses than I was driving someone else’s equipment.

    Get a clue.

    Keep the shiny side up.

  • Martin Ibarra

    Could you explain to me, what difference does it make if you are an immigrant driver? Where is the’ immigrants who drive for peanuts. ‘ apply ? As far as I know ( you probably dont) we all are here to make money my friend.

  • Hellbent706

    I was a company driver for only 8 months before I became an owner operator. As a company driver for Arrow Trucking (a 1500 truck company now out of business) I averaged around $700 a week after taxes sometimes more sometimes less and had to deal with driver managers who could care less about me or my needs. But as an O/O I make twice that even after expenses and that’s on a easy week on minimum $2 or $3 a mile short loads. Plus I have the freedom to call my own shots without anyone breathing down my neck or the threat of getting fired. If I take a week off or I get in a rut, I just take a cross-country load for a minimum $3 a mile and come home smelling like roses in 10 days. Success or failure is all based on how much of yourself you are willing to sacrifice, your money management skills has to be on point, and the insight to be prepared for any disaster and navigating the DOT regulations and traps. My disaster plan is simply to have enough money set aside equal to my start-up or replacement cost. Business expense after fuel is only 5% of gross. Everything else is profit or reinvestment. The enemy to the O/O is not mega companies. It is over-regulation on the industry which uses the driver as a revenue generator for the government and greedy under-regulated brokers. Some Mega companies like Landstar, Mercer and C.H. Robinson welcome O/O’s, does most of their business with O/O and they pay well. The only disadvantage to the smallest O/O’s (besides the obvious) is no affordable or reasonable healthcare or retirement benefits (no pension or 401K unless you invest it yourself) Though some O/O grow their company to 10 or more trucks then turn it over to next of kin in exchange for a monthly percentage for retirement. Good luck.

  • EF McHenry

    You pretty much said it just like it really is!
    Folks this person just told the truth!
    I agree 100% with what you said! strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.