A line of double-stacked J.B. Hunt containers rolls down Cajon Pass in California on a westbound BNSF Railway train in September 2021. Bill Stephens

J.B. Hunt will acquire the brokerage operations of BNSF Logistics, which provides third-party logistics services for trucking operations, the companies announced today.

A unit of BNSF Railway, BNSF Logistics handles logistics services for full truckload, flatbed, temp-controlled, drayage, expedited, and less-than- truckload movements to a large group of the railway's customers. Not included in the deal: The warehouse, retail specialty, heavy-haul and project services that BNSF Logistics provides.

"As we continue to work with BNSF Railway to develop solutions that drive value for customers, we recognized a unique opportunity to combine the companies' efforts to serve the transportation market with 3PL services and leverage the investments J.B. Hunt has made in our technology platform, J.B. Hunt 360°," J.B. Hunt CEO John Roberts said in a statement. "This acquisition is another step forward in our mission to create the most efficient transportation network in North America."

The move is the latest step in the companies' efforts to tighten their relationship.

"This agreement with J.B. Hunt reflects our companies' shared commitment to provide industry-leading intermodal service to our customers," BNSF CEO Katie Farmer said in a statement. "This continues more than 30 years of partnership between BNSF and J.B. Hunt and builds on our [March 2022] announcement to further integrate our joint services."

Following the closing of the transaction, the brokerage operations of BNSF Logistics will roll into J.B. Hunt's Integrated Capacity Solutions. The transaction will be funded using J.B. Hunt's existing cash balance and is expected to close before year-end. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"BNSF Logistics has shown strong performance in serving customers of all sizes," said Brad Hicks, executive vice president of people and president of Highway Services at J.B. Hunt. "Complemented with our best-in-class intermodal and J.B. Hunt 360box power-only service offering, this acquisition will provide a compelling value proposition for customers, growth opportunities for J.B. Hunt and greater service capabilities for BNSF Logistics' employee and agent model."

Upon closing the transaction, BNSF Railway and J.B. Hunt will enter into a long-term service agreement whereby J.B. Hunt will continue to provide third-party logistics services for BNSF Railway.

BNSF Logistics had revenue of $685 million last year, according to the railway's annual report.