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Sheer Logistics acquires CargoBarn to expand brokerage specialties

Managed transportation provider widens geographical footprint to 4 new cities

Sheer Logistics has acquired freight brokerage CargoBarn. (Photo: Sheer Logistics)

Managed transportation provider Sheer Logistics announced Tuesday it has acquired freight brokerage CargoBarn. The strategic move enhances Sheer Logistics’ brokerage services, diversifying the type of freight in its portfolio. The acquisition aims to strengthen the company’s ability to handle future cyclical market shifts. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“We see this as a very timely acquisition in the context of bolstering a foundation to be ready for what the next year or two looks like from a cyclicality perspective,” said Sheer Logistics CEO Joel Gard in an interview with FreightWaves.

In 2022, Sheer Logistics announced it had completed a debt and equity co-investment with industry veterans Eddie Leshin and Brian Winshall of Woodlawn Partners and Monroe Capital LLC, who facilitated the investment. 

The pair had backgrounds at American Backhualers and C.H. Robinson. They plan to use the investment to expand on Sheer Logistics’ technology vision while growing the company’s talent pool to build and sell the technology.

Sheer’s technology tree. (Photo: Sheer Logistics)

In January, the company enlisted Gard to spearhead its digital transformation, focusing on enhancing Sheer’s transportation management system and its integration platform-as-a-service, SheerExchange.

Gard clarified to FreightWaves that although this isn’t strictly a technology acquisition, it presents Sheer with an opportunity to extend managed services to CargoBarn’s existing clientele. Additionally, it allows Sheer’s technology-focused team to pull insights from the specialized brokerage, aiding in the development of future offerings.

“From a 3PL brokerage perspective, the structure and process in place at CargoBarn were very attractive. Getting the core bones of brokerage built on role specialization gives us a more expansive platform to grow efficiently on the brokerage side,” he said.

Sheer will take over CargoBarn’s current offices in Fresno, California; Atlanta; Dallas; and Jacksonville, Florida, which Gard said will help with recruiting the best talent across the country to sell its tech-driven managed services.

Overall, Gard said this is not a “one-and-done” situation and will continue to drive M&A activity in the future.

“There are a host of factors that go into any sort of M&A transaction. We are certainly now benefiting from a very engaged ownership group that is holding us accountable to an aggressive growth plan for the next few years. … Additional M&A activity is certainly not outside the realm of outcomes for us at the moment.”

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Grace Sharkey

Grace Sharkey is a professional in the logistics and transportation industry with experience in journalism, digital content creation and decision-making roles in the third-party logistics space. Prior to joining FreightWaves, Grace led a startup brokerage to more than $80 million in revenue, holding roles of increasing responsibility, including director of sales, vice president of business development and chief strategy officer. She is currently a staff writer, podcast producer and SiriusXM radio host for FreightWaves, a leading provider of news, data and analytics for the logistics industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Michigan State University. You can contact her at [email protected].