US transport company CRST appoints new COO

US transport company, CRST International, has announced the acquisition of California-based Gardner Trucking, and has appointed Hugh Ekberg as group President and Chief Operating Officer.

Prior to joining CRST, Ekberg served as President – Kitchen & Bath Americas for Kohler Company.

“Hugh’s wide-ranging experience in multiple industry verticals fits nicely with the needs of our diversified operations,” said Dave Rusch, President and CEO of CRST International.

“He has extensive expertise in corporate strategy, leadership, multi-site management and strategic growth. We’re thrilled to have an executive of his stature on the CRST team.”

Meanwhile, the acquisition of Gardner is the single largest in CRST’s history and will add roughly US$400 million (€358.8 million) in additional revenues to CRST, as well as over 2,400 drivers and 500 non-driver personnel.

According to CRST, Gardner’s customers are predominately in the paper and packaging, food & beverage, wood products and metal and plastic container industries.

“CRST International is comprised of seven specialized transportation companies. We are always in search of adding companies to our portfolio that offer services that allow us to expand our capabilities for our customers,” said Rusch. 

“The acquisition of Gardner Trucking further complements CRST’s service offerings through Gardner’s expertise in short-haul, local markets, as well as drayage and warehousing. We are thrilled to be working with the Lanting family on this acquisition and look forward to growing Gardner’s operations in its markets.”

Previous owner, Tom Lanting, will continue in his current role as President of Gardner Trucking.

Lanting stated, “The Gardner team looks forward to joining the growing CRST family of companies. With the Gardner brand and its specialized service offerings, we look forward to offering our customers a wider range of services in more locations.”

“Gardner will allow CRST to enter the warehousing, drayage and regional van transportation segments through Gardner’s expanded customer base,” said Rusch.

“For CRST and Gardner, it means improved fleet utilization and increased operating efficiencies. We look forward to working with the Gardner employees and customers.”

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