CRST International has purchased the privately held, Calif.-based Gardner Trucking in the largest acquisition in CRST’s history.

Gardner is considered the largest truckload carrier in Calif. and is a provider of specialized regional truckload services, logistics, drayage and warehouse services for bulk and commodity end-to-end markets. Gardner predominately serves the paper and packaging, food and beverage, wood products and metal and plastic container industries.

“We are always in search of adding companies to our portfolio that offer services which allow us to expand our capabilities for our customers,” said Dave Rusch, president and CEO of CRST International. “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.”

Gardner Trucking’s previous owner and president Tom Lanting will continue in his current role as president.

“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.”

The acquisition is the latest in CRST’s growth strategy over the past few years, including acquisitions of Specialized Transportation, Allied Special Products, BESL Transfer Company and Pegasus Transportation. CRST currently employs more than 8,000 company drivers, independent contractors and office personnel. The Gardner acquisition will add over 2,400 drivers and 500 non-driver personnel.