May 3 - Daseke Inc, one of the largest owners of open-deck transportation equipment in North America, is merging with fellow open-deck truck operators The Schilli Cos and Big Freight Systems Inc.

Acquiring Schilli, which is headquartered in Indiana, and Big Freight Systems, which is based in Winnipeg, Canada is part of a targeted expansion plan in North America, Daseke said.

"We're proud to welcome Schilli and Big Freight, as well as each of their outstanding teams to the Daseke family," Daseke president and ceo Don Daseke said. "Both companies are industry elites in the open-deck specialised market, and will bring new dimensions to Daseke's depth of services and geographic footprint.

"With the contribution of asset-light revenue, a first-class industrial warehousing operation, a new Midwestern presence, as well as an even stronger presence in the Canadian market, all of Daseke's family of companies are able to benefit from our synergies and growing scale of operations," he added.

"Our ongoing strategy is to look for companies that are not for sale, companies like Schilli and Big Freight," said Daseke. "A key objective of our recent decision to go public was to accelerate the company's consolidation in the open-deck specialised freight sector. Schilli and Big Freight are a natural fit with our operating companies, and these new mergers are a crucial and important step in our journey."

According to Daseke, despite being one of the largest owners of open-deck transportation equipment in North America, Daseke accounts for less than 1 percent of a highly fragmented USD133 billion market.

On February 28, this year Daseke officially become a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.