Carbon Express
Img 0938 New 603e8abb5bef2 6312563e09fa9

Kenan Advantage Group acquires driver-centric carrier Carbon Express

Sept. 2, 2022
Tank truck industry legend Steve Rush, 78, who founded the New Jersey-based company in 1983, is expected to remain through the transition

Carbon Express is a Kenan Advantage Group (KAG) carrier.

The two bulk haulers announced KAG’s acquisition of the Wharton, New Jersey-based company founded by tank truck industry legend—and past National Tank Truck Carriers chairman—Steve Rush on Friday, Sept. 2. The acquisition continues a busy year for the company that already is North America’s largest tank truck transporter and logistics provider. KAG added American PetroLog in August, and K-Limited Carrier in February.

Rush told Bulk Transporter the deal had been in the works since late last year, and he made the decision to sell soon after NTTC’s Annual Conference in April in San Diego.

“For us it was the best time ever,” he said. “The rule of thumb is you sell on the way up, right? And we were moving.

“The thing I like is they appreciate our model. It’s all about taking care of the driver.”

See also: Colonna: It was the ‘right time’ to sell

Rush founded Carbon Express in 1983 after 19 years as an owner-operator. His passion for treating drivers with respect, and putting them in hotels instead of sleeper berths, helped the company make the Best Fleets to Drive For “Fleets to Watch” list last year. Carbon Express will join KAG’s Specialty Products division, KAG said.

“The acquisition of Carbon Express is another great strategic fit to our expansion in the specialty products market,” said Karen Rizzuto, KAG’s senior vice president of operations for Specialty Products. “Their operating region and customer base complements our footprint today, but also provides additional expansion opportunities in the Northeastern U.S. Along with a tremendous attention to customer service, the leadership team focuses on an employee-centric model with a strong emphasis on safety.

“This commitment is important to all of us.”

See also: Rush makes passionate plea for equity

Carbon Express transports liquid bulk products, including chemicals, transformer oil, motor oil, lubricants, and water treatment chemicals, throughout North America. As part of the transaction, the company’s approximately 65 drivers and independent contractors will join KAG, and Sean McAllister will continue to manage daily operations as president, KAG said.

McAllister also will look to capitalize on growth opportunities with the additional assets and resources KAG can provide, the company added.

As for Rush, he plans to stay on with Carbon Express through the transition.

“I’m just here to guide them through for a few months, and then walk off into the sunset,” he said.

“It’s been coming for a while. I’ll be 79 years old in a couple of weeks. When we saw what we were worth, we said, ‘Let’s do this.’ It will protect our people because they have similar philosophies. They take care of their people, and they like what we do. So at the end of the day, really, it was a no-brainer.”

Rush also plans to continue advocating for drivers, and the tank truck industry, starting with a trip to Tank Truck Week, slated for Sept. 18-21 in Houston.

“The whole trucking industry, in my opinion, has got to change, and get off the back of the driver, and they’re doing a lousy job,” he said.

“Tank truck does the best job—but the industry overall has to do better.”

About the Author

Jason McDaniel

Jason McDaniel, based in the Houston TX area, has more than 20 years of experience as an award-winning journalist. He spent 15 writing and editing for daily newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, and began covering the commercial vehicle industry in 2018. He was named editor of Bulk Transporter and Refrigerated Transporter magazines in July 2020.


Christopher Tarantino
Img 0714