Ruan Acquires National Truck Brokers

A Ruan sign at a terminal. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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Des Moines, Iowa-based Ruan Transportation Management Systems, one of the largest family-owned-and-operated transportation and logistics companies in the U.S., announced Oct. 28 it has acquired Grand Rapids, Mich.-based National Truck Brokers.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced.

In a statement announcing the sale, Ruan said as an independent entity, NTB will maintain its longtime name, brand and leadership structure, as well as its facility locations. The announcement also said the Koster family, the longtime owners of NTB, will remain with the company as part of the acquisition, providing “confidence that the integrity of the business they built will be upheld.”

“Growth through acquisition has been relatively uncommon at Ruan, but we have done so selectively when there’s a true, strategic fit and the opportunity to sustain and strengthen relationships with important customers. We’ve found these positive elements at NTB,” Ruan CEO Ben McLean said. “Both companies were founded by their first truck drivers, Dan Koster and John Ruan, so the two organizations have shared a foundational focus on safety throughout their histories.”

NTB was founded in 1974 by Dan Koster and before this announcement the company was owned by his three sons, Rick, Greg and Kurt, who took over the trucking company after their father’s death at 59 in 1996.

Ruan said as part of the sale, NTB’s entire fleet of trucks will be replaced by late-model Freightliner units as an enhancement for NTB’s driving team members.

“Refreshing NTB’s fleet is just one of many ways that Ruan and NTB will partner to serve our valued customers and team members,” Ruan’s Senior Vice President of Operations Bob Elkins said. “We are truly excited for the future as we jointly pursue the mission and purpose of our family businesses.”

Nearly 50 years after it was founded, NTB operates a fleet of more than 235 trucks with 270 team members hauling for grocery customers in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

“My father built this great organization from the ground up, and it is our desire to chart a long and prosperous road ahead for the company,” NTB Chairman Rick Koster said. “Sometimes charting the best path to accelerating progress and sustainability requires taking strategic leaps like joining forces with the right parent company. This agreement with Ruan provides a great opportunity for NTB to continue to grow and provide stability for our team members and customers.”

Ruan is a 90-year-old trucking company that operates an estimated 3,500 trucks and 8,000 trailers and has more than 5,000 employees at 300 locations across the country. It ranks No. 38 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire companies in North America.

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