Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) announced Feb. 8 that it has agreed to acquire the shares of Atlantic Western Transportation Inc., parent company of Heart of Georgia Railroad Inc. (HOG). Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of U.S. Surface Transportation Board approval, and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2017.
HOG was founded in 1999 and operates across the state of Georgia on 219 miles of track leased from the Georgia Department of Transportation. It connects with G&W’s Georgia Southwestern Railroad at Americus, Ga., and with G&W’s Georgia Central Railway at Vidalia, Ga. HOG serves an inland intermodal terminal at Cordele, Ga., providing direct rail service five days per week via the Georgia Central Railway to the Port of Savannah, Ga., for auto, agricultural products and other merchandise customers. HOG has Class I railroad connections with CSX at Cordele and with Norfolk Southern at Americus and Helena, Ga.
HOG transports approximately 10,000 annual carloads of agricultural products, feed, fertilizer and lumber and forest products, approximately 2,000 carloads of which are interchanged with G&W’s Georgia Central Railway. Following the acquisition, HOG will be managed as one of G&W’s Coastal Region railroads, led by senior vice president Andy Chunko.
“The Heart of Georgia is an excellent bolt-on acquisition that we expect will enhance economic development by providing an efficient lane across southern Georgia,” Chunko said. “Its proximity to other G&W railroads unlocks operational efficiencies while enhancing the railroads’ abilities to serve customers and generate new commercial opportunities across the region.”
Chunko continued, “We look forward to the 15 HOG employees joining those at our connecting railroads and working with our Class I partners to expand HOG’s recent success in driving more traffic onto rail in Georgia and Florida. We also look forward to broadening our already strong relationship with the Georgia Department of Transportation and Georgia Ports Authority in a state where we have established a significant long-term presence, operating 11 railroads over more than 600 track miles.”
G&W owns or leases 122 freight railroads worldwide that are organized in 10 operating regions with approximately 7,300 employees and 3,000 customers. The company’s eight North American regions serve 41 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces and include 115 short-line and regional freight railroads with more than 13,000 track miles.
G&W also provides rail service in Australia as well as Northern Europe and is present at more than 40 major ports in North America, Australia and Europe.