Heniff Transportation and Superior Bulk Logistics to merge

Private equity firm Olympus Partners announced that it has acquired liquid and dry bulk carrier Superior Bulk Logistics (SBL) with the intention of combining that company with one of its other portfolio companies, bulk liquid carrier Heniff Transportation Systems. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Heniff was provided capital from Olympus Partners and a group of lenders to fund the deal.

Image: Superior Carriers

SBL operates as two separate companies, Superior Carriers Inc., a liquid and dry bulk carrier with a customer base of international chemical manufacturers, and Carry Transit Inc., a provider of logistics services for food product companies. SBL also has a subsidiary, Supernus Global Solutions Inc., which provides third-party brokerage and global supply chain management services.

“We are constantly seeking ways to improve our customer service capabilities. This transaction is a perfect example of how we will continue to invest in the business to ensure we have the resources to become strategic partners with our customers,” said Heniff’s founder and CEO Bob Heniff.

FreightWaves reported on the potential for private equity-led merger and acquisition activity in the space in August.

The two Oak Brook, Illinois-based carriers will merge into one company at a later date. The merger aims to combine Heniff’s 40 locations with 34 Superior and 21 Carry facilities to provide service in the U.S., Canada and Mexico with a combined fleet of 2,100 tractors and 5,000 trailers. The entity will continue to offer transloading, tank washing and intermodal services. Heniff gained expertise in intermodal bulk transport of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) containers through its 2018 acquisition of Miller Transporters and Miller Intermodal Logistics Services.

ISO container loaded on a Heniff trailer
ISO container loaded on a Heniff trailer
Image: Heniff Transportation Systems

Heniff anticipates the combination will produce the “industry leader” in liquid bulk transportation, food grade transportation, tank cleaning, rail transloading, ISO depot and maintenance services.

“The new organization will offer services second to none in the chemical and food grade bulk transportation industry with the ability to provide the market and customers a broad range of shipping solutions,” said Heniff.

“The history of Superior Bulk Logistics is one of building strength through growth. This recapitalization will enable us to do more of the things we already do well, with an unchanging focus on supporting our extraordinary people in their efforts to deliver safe, environmentally responsible customer service,” said SBL’s president and CEO Wes Stone.

In the near term, the two entities will continue to operate separately with the current management teams remaining in place. Stone sees little impact to current employees.

“It’s likely that the biggest impact felt by most people will be the result of major initiatives already undertaken by SBL in 2019 in dispatch, tank cleaning, driver training and intermodal operations. The primary initial difference in operations will be an enlargement of scale, a considerable expansion of our geographic reach,” Stone continued.

Stone is expected to serve as president and chief commercial officer of the company with a focus on business development.

Olympus recapitalized Heniff in November. The firm has committed $8.5 billion in capital investing in more than 80 entities. Olympus was represented by Kirkland & Ellis LLP in this transaction.