J.B. Hunt purchases furniture carrier RDI Last Mile

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,752 views 

Lowell-based carrier J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. has acquired the assets of South Easton, Mass.-based carrier RDI Last Mile Co. as J.B. Hunt continues to expand its final mile business.

J.B. Hunt announced Thursday (Jan. 2) the carrier purchased RDI on Dec. 31, 2019. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the company will pay for the acquisition with its existing revolving credit facility.

“Growing our final mile delivery capabilities is a priority, and the acquisition of RDI further extends our expertise in furniture delivery,” said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt.

RDI was established in 1986 by Richard J. Deslongchamps Jr. with one van, and it has expanded to 100 trucks and delivers furniture, appliances and other merchandise for customers in 13 states, mostly on the East Coast, according to RDI’s website. Customers include Ashley Home Furniture, Bassett Furniture Direct, Boston Interiors, Ethan Allen and La-Z-Boy, the website shows.

RDI has a revenue of $35 million annually and uses contract carriers to primarily complete furniture deliveries, according to a news release. As a result of the RDI acquisition, J.B. Hunt’s final mile business has expanded its home delivery operations to include more than 104 locations and 3.2 million square feet of warehouse and facilities space.

“Providing our customers with a comprehensive, high-quality delivery experience drives our final mile services,” said Nick Hobbs, executive vice president and president of Dedicated Contract Services at J.B. Hunt. “RDI is a reputable furniture delivery provider, and we are excited to welcome them to J.B. Hunt.”

Final Mile Services is a division of J.B. Hunt’s Dedicated Contract Services business segment and operates one of the largest nationwide, commingled cross-dock operations. It can serve 100% of the contiguous United States.

J.B. Hunt has been acquiring companies to expand its reach into e-commerce and the last mile of shipments. In February 2019, it purchased New Jersey-based carrier Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery for $100 million as part of the company’s growth into the final mile delivery of bulky items, especially furniture. In 2017, it spent $136 million to acquire Houston-based carrier Special Logistics Dedicated, allowing the company to expand its pool distribution and fulfillment delivery services. Pool distribution allows a company to combine multiple less-than-truckload shipments into one shipment, resulting in a lower shipping rate, and the service is used in the distribution of e-commerce freight. The 2017 deal was the first time in 26 years J.B. Hunt had acquired another company.

In the carrier’s third-quarter earnings call Oct. 15, 2019, Roberts explained that the acquisition of Special Logistics Dedicated had exceeded expectations.

“Overall, through acquisition and organic growth we have expanded the Final Mile network by over 40% so far year to date,” Roberts said. “And we will be breaking out this channel in 2020.”

In the third quarter, Final Mile Services reported a $53 million revenue increase largely as a result of the acquisition of Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery.