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CRST, back in the acquisition game, buys Larkin’s BCB Transport

The ‘safety vest guy’ will stay with the company and continue popular YouTube show 

CRST has acquired BCB Transport, the Texas-based truckload carrier whose chief information officer and former president — and one of the co-founders in 2011 — is Rick Larkin, well known for his online channel BCB Live and his attire that always features a safety vest.

It’s the first acquisition for CRST since it bought final-mile provider NAL Group in 2020. That acquisition capped off a run of five purchases in six years: Specialized Transportation, BESL, Pegasus Transportation, Gardner Transportation and then NAL.

Larkin told FreightWaves he was limited in discussing the terms of the sale. But he did say he would continue to produce and host BCB Live.  Larkin co-founded BCB with Brian Brzozowski.

In response to written questions submitted to CRST, Hugh Ekberg, president and CEO, said Larkin “and all other leaders involved in the day-to-day business are staying with CRST to contribute to maximizing the potential of bringing the two businesses together.”

On its website, BCB said it has more than 300 trucks and was pursuing a plan to double its warehouse space. Ekberg, in his email, said the BCB acquisition will grow the CRST fleet by 10%.

“BCB brings an attractive productive mix of capacity options between company, independent contractor and brokerage,” he said. “BCB complements our business and brings some operating capabilities that will enhance and accelerate some of CRST’s current business initiatives. CRST’s business offers significant growth to the BCB operating model as well.”

In an article earlier this year in the Corridor Business Journal, which serves the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area of Iowa where CRST is based, Jenny Abernathy, the company’s chief people officer, was quoted as saying CRST has 6,200 employees and another 2,000 independent contractors.

It also listed the company’s revenue as $2 billion. To put that number in perspective and in comparison to another Midwest-based truckload carrier, Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN) last year had revenue of about $3.3 billion. 

BCB recently made news when it said it had partnered with an AI provider, Optimal Dynamics, to use AI to automate some back-office operations, including load acceptance and dispatching. 

It said its first gains from the collaboration resulted in an almost 20% revenue gain per truck.

The BCB operations will be merged into CRST’s Capacity Solutions segment. According to Ekberg, that group provides dry van, refrigerated and flatbed one-way over-the-road trucking capacity.

The other solutions within CRST are Dedicated Solutions, which Ekberg described as dedicated contract carriage; Specialized Solutions, which he said handles “high-value products, specialty warehouse and project services”; and Home Solutions, which is home delivery of large products such as appliances and exercise equipment.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.