Bulk chemical hauler Quality Distribution paid $8.5 million for Greensville Transport of Virginia, expanding its intermodal tank container business.

Quality, a $687 million company, said it will merge $8 million Greensville Transport with its eight-terminal Boasso America division once the transaction is complete. Greensville Transport has headquarters in Chesapeake, just outside Norfolk, Va., and gives Boasso access to ports in Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina.

That’s an attractive region, “especially with the planned expansion of the Panama Canal in 2014,” said Scott Giroir, president of Boasso. The acquisition “will allow the company to rapidly expand its geographic coverage,” BBT analyst Kevin W. Sterling said in an Oct. 7 note to investors.

“Quality’s national sales force can quickly get to work selling access to new deep water ports,” he said, expanding Greenville Transport’s business.

In addition to Boasso, Quality operates Quality Carriers, the third largest bulk truckload carrier in the U.S., according to SJ Consulting Group data. Tampa-based Quality had a $9 million net profit in the second quarter on $190 million in total revenue, including service revenue and fuel surcharges.

Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wbcassidy_joc