Mark-It Express Logistics, an intermodal trucking and freight brokerage company based just outside Chicago, announced Monday that it acquired the operating assets of Joliet, Illinois-based Clean Car Connexion for an undisclosed sum. It’s the third acquisition in as many years for Mark-It as the company looks to grow its operations beyond the Midwest. Republic Partners LLC advised Mark-It on the deal and arranged financing for the transaction.
Currently, Mark-It operates three terminals — one outside Chicago, one in Detroit and a third in Kansas City, Kansas. The company offers third-party, intermodal and multimodal logistics solutions including local and regional drayage and yard services and freight brokerage services.
Clean Car Connexion specializes in intermodal, flatbed and overweight loads. The 28-year-old transportation provider offers its services to all of the lower 48 states, with much of its business taking place in Illinois and Indiana.
Chad Fiala, president of Clean Car, will remain with Mark-It in an ongoing role. According to a press release, Fiala viewed Mark-It as a good fit for the business because its suite of transportation solutions could help grow Clean Car’s customer base. No layoffs of Clean Car employees are expected following the acquisition. A total of 50 drivers will join Mark-It as part of the deal, Jonathan Britva, principal of Republic, told Modern Shipper in an email.
Mark-It President and founder Tony Apa agreed with Fiala, commenting that working with Clean Car could help his business grow its fleet. Apa, a third-generation logistics professional, said the acquisition “is a good strategic fit and strengthens our capacity in a tight labor market in the largest inland intermodal hub in the country.”
Finding new capacity has been a theme for Mark-It in recent years. The company kicked off its expansion in January 2020 when it acquired another Chicago-based transportation provider, Spirit Trucking Co., and its 78 trucks. That brought Mark-It’s fleet to 175 vehicles, a number that reached a shade below 200 with the purchase of Sava Transportation just six months later.
Watch: Are logistics capacity constraints here to stay?
Now, Mark-It appears set to grow its fleet further. While it’s unclear exactly how many vehicles the company will add from Clean Car, the deal is Mark-It’s third acquisition since the start of 2020. According to Apa, that’s all in a bid to become a nationwide logistics presence.
“We’re really looking to be a national-scale player in the intermodal drayage space,” he told Modern Shipper following the acquisition of Spirit Trucking. “We have a few other key [possibilities] we are looking at.”
While Mark-It, Clean Car, Sava and Spirit Trucking are all based in Illinois, Apa is betting on their combined capacity being great enough to expand his company’s services around the country. If all goes according to plan, Mark-It will have found itself some new markets.