There have been 44 publicly announced freight movement and logistics deals within the U.S. so far this year, according to Thomson Reuters data, already topping the 38 deals announced in 2016. And the total is likely much higher because most deals are private, said Todd McMahon, managing director at investment bank Capstone Partners.
Trucking companies by late December must start using electronic logging devices, known as ELDs, to track the number of hours drivers are behind the wheel.
The new mandate makes it harder for trucking firms to dodge federal limits on the hours drivers can work and will likely cut into productivity, trucking industry officials have said. That would pressure already razor-thin margins at smaller trucking firms, fueling consolidation.
Executives at larger trucking companies and private equity firms have said they are aggressively hunting for deals.
And the trucking industry is recovering after a tough few years, making struggling firms more likely to sell, Dan Clark, transportation finance head at BMO Harris Bank, the largest U.S. truck-financing arm.
XPO Logistics Inc (XPO.N) Chief Executive Officer Brad Jacobs said last week the company has a war chest of up to $8 billion for possible deals in the coming months, and has narrowed its target list to dozens of companies.
Source/More: U.S. truck firms accelerate into the merging lane