Chattanooga-based Access America Transport sold

photo Access America's Chattanooga office

Two of the fastest growing logistics companies in America are combining to create the second biggest company in its industry with sales expected to reach $2 billion this year.

Coyote Logistics of Chicago and Access America Transport in Chattanooga announced today they have approved a definitive merger agreement. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Coyote is expected to acquire the Chattanooga-based Access America within the next few weeks.

Founded in 2002, Access America has been one of Chattanooga's most successful startup companies with sales expected to reach $600 million this year. AAT handles multi-modal transportation, including truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal, flatbed, and specialized freight for more than 10,000 customers across the United States.

Access America has about 500 employees at nine locations in the U.S.

Coyote, founded in 2006, topped $1 billion in sales in 2013. The Chicago-based company has eight locations.

Both companies were recognized last year by Forbes magazine as among the most promising companies in America.

"This is the perfect marriage of two companies that share a common set of values and are each fiercely dedicated to the shippers and carriers of all sizes that we serve across North America," said Coyote CEO and Cofounder Jeff Silver. "We are confident that our shippers and carriers will see the benefit of our newly expanded and dedicated customer service team."

Access America CEO and Cofounder Ted Alling said Coyote's proprietary technology and backend operations "will bring a level of unprecedented sophistication to AAT shippers and carriers."

Silver said he expects employment to grow at the combined company, including at a new Southern hub and training center that Coyote will operate in Chattanooga.

Silver will continue to serve as Coyote's CEO, and Chad Eichelberger, president of AAT, will serve as the combined Company's president of brokerage.

Access America founders Alling, Barry Large and Allan Davis will retain an interest in the merged companies but do not plan to exercise any management in Coyote. They said they will focus their attention on the Lamp Post Group, a start-up incubator in Chattanooga.