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Private equity adds another piece at Port of Charleston

Middle-market private equity firm NOVA Infrastructure announced the acquisition of port services provider ATS Logistics.

Based in Charleston, South Carolina, ATS is touted as the biggest drayage provider by volume serving the Port of Charleston. Its network includes 205,000 square feet of warehouse space, where it performs cross-docking, transloading and other distribution services. The company also boasts the only centralized examination station for customs clearance at the port.

ATS will operate as part of current NOVA portfolio company Harbor Logistics.

“ATS is an essential component of the Port of Charleston’s supply chain and import/export activity,” said Allison Kingsley, founder and partner at NOVA. “Combining the talented ATS team with Harbor Logistics brings additional operating expertise and complementary customer relationships to a strategically located port market with structural tailwinds.”

In addition to container drayage at Charleston and other Southeastern ports, ATS provides asset-based full truckload transportation. ATS has 154 power units registered, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data. It also acts as a domestic freight forwarder with a network of 750 carriers, arranging less-than-truckload, less-than-container load, TL and intermodal cargo transportation.  

“ATS embodies the asset-based capacity and a customer-focused approach that the industry needs,” said Micah Mallace, president of Harbor Logistics. “Harbor Logistics looks forward to partnering with the existing ATS management team to deliver these capabilities and continue the company’s and the port’s strong growth.”

Mallace previously held the role of chief commercial officer for the Port of Charleston.

Harbor Logistics also owns Premier Logistics, which was acquired by NOVA in 2021. Premier is a Charleston-based 3PL, operating 800,000 square feet of space near the port, most of which is served by rail, and a fleet of company-owned trucks and trailers.

“My brothers and I started ATS in 1986, and our dedicated team has worked hard to build and grow ATS over the last 36 years,” said Jimmie Gianoukos, ATS co-founder. “We are excited for our existing team to collaborate with NOVA and its Charleston-based Harbor Logistics business for this next phase of the company’s growth.”

Gianoukos will serve on the Harbor Logistics board. He’s also chairman-elect of the South Carolina Trucking Association.

NOVA was advised on the deal by Scudder Law Firm and Jones Day.

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