Tampa chemical trucking company sold to CSX in ‘game-changer’ shipping deal

Quality Carriers, which moves bulk chemicals across North America, will vastly expand the rail company’s shipping network.
Tampa's Quality Carriers is being sold to the CSX Corp., creating a sprawling new multimodal liquid chemical shipping network.
Tampa's Quality Carriers is being sold to the CSX Corp., creating a sprawling new multimodal liquid chemical shipping network. [ DYLAN MCCULLOUGH | Quality Distribution ]
Published May 12, 2021|Updated May 12, 2021

A Tampa chemical trucking company is being sold to railroad giant CSX Corp. in a deal expected to create a sprawling rails-to-roadways chemical distribution network across North America.

Quality Distribution, a privately held logistics and transportation company headquartered in downtown Tampa, is spinning off and selling its Quality Carriers arm, which operates North America’s largest shipping network for bulk liquid chemicals like fuels, acids and fertilizers.

Quality Carriers, whose fleet includes 2,500 drivers moving between more than 100 hubs and terminals throughout North America, will remain based in Tampa.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in late summer or early fall.

In statements released Wednesday, executives from both companies highlighted the scope and potential impact of the deal. The companies’ “unique and seamless rail-to-highway offering,” said Quality Controls president Randy Strutz, would be the “first of its kind,” said CSX president and CEO James Foote.

In a statement, Quality Distribution chairperson and CEO Gary Enzor called the deal “a game-changer for our industry.”

“This transaction gives CSX and Quality Carriers the unique opportunity to offer a powerful combination of truck and rail solutions to customers, with the added benefit of maintaining QC’s headquarters in Tampa,” Enzor said.

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In a brief video addressed to Quality Carriers drivers, Strutz said the deal would lead to “more opportunities and more choices” for truckers who prefer both local and long-haul jobs.

As part of the deal, Quality Distribution will spin another subsidiary, Boasso Global, into its own standalone company, and cease using the Quality Distribution brand name. Boasso provides shipping services for bulk shipping containers through a network of hubs in North America and Europe. It will continue to be based in Tampa.

Company officials said 99 percent of Quality Distribution’s workforce will remain in place, with most changes taking place at the corporate management level. Enzor will step down as Quality Distribution’s chairperson and CEO, but will remain on Boasso’s board of directors. Joe Troy, Boasso’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, will step up and become CEO.

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Founded in 1913 in Pennsylvania, Quality Distribution has been based in the Tampa Bay area for decades. In 2015, the company was sold for $800 million to private equity firm Apex Partners. The previous year, the company had reported $991.7 million in revenue and $20.6 million in net income.

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Based in Jacksonville, CSX last year reported nearly $10.6 billion in revenue, including $2.3 billion from its chemical transportation business, the most of any sector. The company’s intermodal business, linking trains and trucks, represented around 16 percent of its overall revenue.