BNSF Logistics announced the acquisition Tuesday of Albacor Shipping, Inc., a Toronto-based global logistics provider that specializes in handling project cargo.
The Grapevine, Texas, third-party logistics provider also plans to announce next week the acquisition of EP-Team, an air cargo company that specializes in expedited project cargo using Russian Antonov and other aircraft capable of handling oversize loads, Chief Marketing Officer Jim Craig told American Shipper
EP-Team is based in Flower Mound, Texas.
BNSF Logistics is the logistics arm of BNSF Railway, which is privately held by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Co. It mostly provides transportation, warehousing and value-added services for retailers, manufacturers and other shippers in North America, and is also an ocean freight forwarder and customs broker that handles a limited amount of imports and exports in North America. It recently has begun a rapid expansion of services to move cargo for large industrial projects, primarily helping the energy industry move equipment and materials to new oil-and-gas developments that are sprouting up in places such as Texas, North Dakota, Montana and other states. It's project cargo work usually has a rail element to it.
The acquisition gives BNSF an offshore market presence and international offices, and expands its project cargo business beyond North America
Albacor Shipping, which also handles general cargo, has locations across North America, Europe and Russia. Craig said the key to the acquisition was Albacor's capability in Russia.
“Project cargo is a highly fragmented market that is dominated by foreign nationals. This acquisition expands our North American presence while establishing our first foray into new foreign markets necessary to serve North American clients here and around the world," BNSF Logistics President Ray Greer said in a statement.
In addition to growth of the mining and energy sectors, BNSF officials said they expect government and private investment in large infrastructure projects to provide a big opportunity for project logistics companies.
(More about BNSF Logistics' activity in the Bakken Shale and other oil development projects can be found in the feature story "Steel-wheeled pipeline
" in the January issue.) - Eric Kulisch