Heartland Express, Coralville, Iowa, has agreed to purchase the business and certain trucking assets of Great Coastal Express Inc., a truckload carrier based near Richmond, Va.

Great Coastal generated approximately $70 million in revenue during 2001. In the transaction, Heartland expects to acquire approximately 428 tractors and 1,664 trailers, as well as certain other fixed assets relating to the business. Heartland would sublease 68 tractors and also obtain access to approximately 125 owner-operators.
The acquired operation is expected to continue to operate out of the Chester, Va., headquarters as the Great Coastal division of Heartland. The purchase price was not disclosed. In addition, Heartland will lease the terminals in Chester and Roanoke, Virginia, Baltimore, Maryland, and Charlotte, North Carolina. The seller will retain cash, accounts receivable, and certain other assets.
"For several years we have felt that Great Coastal would be a good fit with Heartland,” says Chairman, President and CEO Russell A. Gerdin. “Great Coastal's presence in the Mid-Atlantic from Maryland to the Carolinas and West through Pennsylvania and Ohio will supplement and expand our presence gained in the acquisition of A&M Express five years ago and will add critical lane density in that region. We also gained a desirable customer list that has little overlap with Heartland's and expect to retain and build upon as much of the existing business as possible."
Great Coastal Express CEO Martha Estes Grover noted that, "While it is very difficult to sell a business that has been part of your family for more than 50 years, this transaction solidifies the futures of our drivers, operations personnel and owner-operator partners.”