Forward Air (NASDAQ: FWRD) announced Wednesday that it will acquire J&P Hall Express, a privately held, expedited transportation provider. The deal is expected to expand Forward’s regional less-than-truckload door-to-door operation.

Founded in 1989, Atlanta-based J&P Hall provides LTL, truckload, less-than-container-load and airport transfers with a fleet of 70 trucks and 110 employees across the Southeast. The company also provides container freight stationing services out of its Atlanta and Albany, Georgia, terminals.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the press release said the company generates $15.8 million in annual revenue. The deal is expected to close in May.

“J&P Hall Express offers a great range of regional freight services,” said Tom Schmitt, president, chairman and CEO. “This acquisition supports our LTL network expansion strategy, while allowing us to grow our pick-up and delivery service throughout southern Georgia and the northern Florida markets.”

Forward has made several acquisitions as part of its growth initiative in recent years. The company has been acquiring final-mile and intermodal providers as well as building out its service offering at existing terminals.

Forward announced in July it would expand its LTL operation to include service beyond its traditional airport-to-airport network. The growth push was in part due to a decline in volume throughput at its terminals as key airline customers saw drastic curtailments in flight schedules due to COVID.

Some of the company’s growth efforts have met pushback from investors, however.

An activist investor group, including former executives, took a 6% stake in the company, seeking to undo some of the changes. The group contended that declines in Forward’s margins and financial returns were directly related to the company’s acquisitions outside of its core LTL operations.

After a brief proxy battle, the two parties reached an agreement providing the investor group with influence over five board seats in total and full control of two.       

Forward Air reports first-quarter earnings results Thursday after the close. Stay tuned to FreightWaves for continuing coverage.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

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