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Mergers, Acquisitions & Joint Ventures

2015-2016 Archives

Yusen Logistics Acquires Tibbett Logistics

Summary:  Yusen Logistics acquired Tibbett Logistics, a wholly owned subsidiary of UK-based Keswick Enterprises Group. Established in 2004 in Romania, Tibbett Logistics offers contract logistics, warehousing, transport and intermodal services. In addition, according to the press release, Tibbett Logistics manages the Bucharest international rail freight container terminal (BIRFT).   The company has a particular strength within the retail and automotive industries.

This acquisition provides Yusen Logistics with access and insight into the Romanian market as well as a well-established regional network of warehousing, intermodal and trucking operations.

LogisticsTI Take: The acquisition will expand Yusen’s usage of intermodal operations and link its own European network end-to-end into Southeast Europe. Perhaps eventually, further expansion opportunities via China’s One Belt One Road initiative.

WCA Acquires Majority Ownership of EGLN

Summary: WCA, a global network of independent freight forwarders, acquired a majority stake in Elite Global Network (EGLN), a freight and logistics network where members join by invite only. EGLN has 352 memberships in 131 countries compared to WCA’s 6,600 members in 193 countries.

The press release notes that the acquisition will enable WCA to “move to the next stage of its development and provide member companies with increased opportunities for business expansion and organic growth.”

LogisticsTI Take: As noted on The Loadstar, WCA chief’s said, “For WCA it brings more potential partners, as EGLN doesn’t have coverage everywhere. EGLN members will also have limited cross-network protection. “It allows everyone to get more work and agents to make more money.”

The combination of WCA and EGLN should be helpful with WCA’s Alibaba agreement which was signed earlier this year.The agreement would see approved WCA member companies integrated into the logistics platform for cross-border e-commerce shipments as well as WCA provide its professional support in “vetting and approving” international logistics providers for the customers of

FedEx Acquires Northwest Research

Summary: FedEx acquired Northwest Research, a provider of inventory research and management. According to FedEx’s executive vice president and chief information officer, “Northwest Research’s unique technological capabilities will further enhance the FedEx customer experience by adding a suite of solutions to the FedEx portfolio that help proactively resolve at-risk shipments.”

LogisticsTI Take: A short press release with few details to what exactly Northwest Research will bring to the table other than it will help with ‘at-risk’ shipments. It also will help expand FedEx’s offerings in the global e-commerce marketplace.

One suggestion may be for FedEx to combine Northwest Research’s consulting services with its e-commerce/cross-border solution. This would benefit small-to-medium size businesses that want to expand internationally but may need guidance in inventory management options combined with transportation and other options.

bpost Acquires Radial, the combined former eBay Enterprises and Innotrac

Summary: The innovative Belgian postal operator acquired the operations of the former eBay Enterprises/Innotrac combination and renamed Radial. In 2016, Radial fulfilled over 306 million units for its retail customers, across 24 fulfillment centers. According to the press release, the expected normalized annual revenues of Radial for 2017 are forecasted between $970 and $1.02 billion. The expected normalized EBITDA is forecasted to be between $65 and $70 million in 2017.

According to the CEO of bpost, “I’m very proud of this acquisition that represents a great leap forward for bpost, promoting us as a leading player in the e-commerce logistics business in the Benelux, Europe and throughout the world. I’m convinced that offering integrated and seamless e-commerce logistic solutions to our US and European customers will help them grow their businesses”.

As noted in the press release, with Radial, “bpost will build upon its successful US-based Landmark Global business to scale its presence in one of the largest e-commerce countries and expand bpost’s product offering throughout the entire value chain in e-commerce logistics”.

LogisticsTI Take: A very smart acquisition that boosts bpost’s presence in global e-commerce logistics. The former eBay Enterprises was spun off from its parent company in 2016 and merged with fellow e-commerce fulfillment firm Innotrac. Radial provides order management, payment processing, order routing, fulfillment, and analytics services for their retailer customers. Radial manages about 24 distribution centers and six call centers in the US, Canada, and Europe.

Marken Acquires Taiwan’s Touchdown International

Summary: Touchdown was founded in 2013 as a specialty courier in clinical trials logistics. In 2015, Marken entered into an exclusive sales and agency contract with Touchdown, which allowed Marken, a subsidiary of UPS, to establish its brand with pharmaceutical and life science clients in Taiwan.  With a dedicated staff and fleet of vehicles, Touchdown provides courier services across Taiwan for biological samples, clinical trial drug shipments, API-, and other clinical trial materials.

The VP APAC for Marken stated, “Asia continues to be a vital part of Marken’s strategic growth plans.  With the acquisition of Touchdown, we now have a solid footprint in Taiwan, whose pharma market is expected to grow to $84 billion by 2020¹. We can now serve our clients in Taiwan with the depth and breadth of our global services.”

LogisticsTI Take: The press release notes that the acquisition enables Marken to expand its service offerings in Taiwan by leveraging both Marken’s and UPS’ global transportation networks. Marken will now have its own operational presence in Taiwan and adds its 46th global location to an expanding network of logistics sites, depots and regional offices.

NFI Acquires Calcartage

Summary: CalCartage is an US port logistics provider that operates at such ports as Los Angeles, Long Beach and Savannah. The acquisition enables NFI to service shippers in the seamless transition of goods from import to port to final destination in North America.

With the deal, NFI’s distribution footprint grows to 41.5 million square feet, its dedicated transportation and drayage network will expand to almost 4,000 tractors and its brokerage and transportation management capacity increases to nearly 30,000 carrier partners.

LogisticsTI Take: According to Transport Topics, with the purchase, NFI strengthens its capabilities in the port drayage and transloading market. The deal also gives NFI access to expertise that can be used to automate processes in the company’s warehouses to provide e-commerce fulfillment services for major retailers.


Summary: Through its subsidiary, ANL, CMA CGM will acquire the majority of the shares in SOFRANA Unilines, a player in the Pacific Islands regional maritime trade.

SOFRANA Unilines operates directly or in partnership a fleet of 10 vessels on eight trade-lanes, servicing 21 ports in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands.

According to the press release, ANL’s reach across Asia, ISC and North America combined with SOFRANA’s knowledge of the Pacific islands will provide customers with a new level of service and routing options, all supported by the financial and operational strength of the CMA CGM Group.

LogisticsTI Take: The press release notes that SOFRANA will provide enhanced port coverage to ANL and CMA CGM in the South Pacific. Indeed, regional carriers are being snapped up in the latest market consolidation move. This is the second recent regional acquisition CMA CGMA has made. In June of this year, the ocean carrier acquired Mercosul Line to build up its operations in Brazil.

In an interview with The Loadstar, Chief executive of SeaIntelligence Consulting Lars Jensen noted of the acquisition, “It also is another step in the consolidation among the smaller shortsea and feeder carriers globally that will unfold in the coming years.”

Panalpina Invests Further in its Perishables Capabilities with Two More Acquisitions

Summary: Panalpina has acquired two European logistics companies that specialize in perishables. The first acquisition, Interfresh Airfreight Handling including its sister companies Fresh Cargo Connection and Dutch Cargo Connection, specialize in the customs clearance and last-mile distribution of imported flowers from Kenya and other types of perishables from countries in Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Fresh Cargo Connection acts as a fiscal representative for customers and Dutch Cargo Connection provides services for other perishables such as fish, fruit, vegetables and mushrooms. The three companies have offices at Schiphol Airport and handle around 20,000 tons of perishables air freight per year. In addition, Interfresh is a primary customer of  Air Connection, the Kenya-based forwarder that Panalpina acquired earlier this year.

The second acquisition was made just a day after the first. Rungis Express agreed to sell its Cool Chain Group, Germany (CCG) which specializes in international air freight and the import of perishables. CCG has about 100 customers and represents around 14,000 tons of air freight per year.

According to the CEO of Panalpina, “Our recent acquisitions in the perishables market have concentrated on the export side, but we also want to increase our footprint in key import markets and build our end-to-end perishables capabilities at major gateways such as Frankfurt and, as demonstrated yesterday, Amsterdam. These latest developments are further important steps towards offering complete end-to-end solutions on a global scale as we continue to expand our Perishables Network,”

LogisticsTI Take: Cold chain/perishables logistics acquisitions remain a hot trend among leading providers such as Panalpina and Kuehne + Nagel. Both of these European companies are in a race to provide a global network for perishables. Other providers such as DB Schenker are also busy building their capabilities in this space.

Trimble Acquires 10-4

Summary: 10-4 Systems, a provider of multimodal shipment visibility solutions and related technologies for shippers and transportation providers has been acquired by Trimble. 10-4 solutions offer real-time shipment visibility, regardless of provider or mode, to shippers, third-party logistics providers and carriers of all sizes. The acquisition expands Trimble’s portfolio of Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to include an established cloud-based solution for small carriers as well as a shipper RFP platform.

“This acquisition will advance our mission to transform the way the world moves freight by providing innovative transactional, visibility, decision support and optimization solutions that benefit participants at every level of the supply chain,” said the president of Trimble Transportation Enterprise. “With the addition of 10-4 Systems, Trimble will significantly enhance its ability to help the transportation industry optimize demand and capacity management and improve utilization of long-haul trucking assets.”

LogisticsTI Take: According to a DC Velocity article, IDC indicates that demand for improved visibility over freight shipments has taken on a new urgency as users seek systems that can provide real-time tracking of inventory in transit. “The sheer scale of the logistics industry and the amount of material that is in-transit every day is massive. Many companies lose visibility of this inventory, which has a trickle down effect throughout the supply chain. With real time visibility, companies can sense and respond to disruption, can plan better, can better utilize their warehouse assets, and much more.”

Meanwhile, American Shipper points out that 10-4 Systems is the second freight visibility provider to be snapped up in the last month, after competitor MacroPoint was acquired by logistics software provider Descartes.

So, expect more consolidation in this market as freight visibility becomes a requirement for the global and regional supply chain. However, despite the consolidation, a crowded field offering similar solutions remains and pricing/customer service will set each apart.

WiseTech Acquires Global Rate Management Solution Providers, Cargoguide and CargoSphere

Summary: Netherlands-based Cargoguide, a leading provider of global air freight rate management solutions and US-based CargoSphere, a leading provider of global ocean freight rate management solutions have been added to WiseTech’s list of acquisitions.

Cargoguide provides its rate management solutions to customers across 84 countries including to DHL, Expeditors, UPS, DSV, Geodis, Panalpina, Kuehne + Nagel, Schenker, Toll and Yusen. According to the press release, Cargoguide’s direct relationship with leading air carriers such as Emirates, Lufthansa, Delta, Air France/KLM, and Qatar and GSAs ensures optimal and efficient access to air freight rates contracted or real-time spot rates.

WiseTech notes that CargoSphere’s rate management platform ensures frictionless rate distribution and efficient access to confidential ocean freight rates. CargoSphere provides its rate management solutions to more than 100 customers including Kuehne + Nagel, Dachser, NNR Global Logistics, M+R Spedag, Livingston International.

CEO of WiseTech – “Both solutions will enhance existing rate management capabilities within CargoWise One, increasing efficiency, accuracy and workflow for our customers worldwide, while our innovation strength and development capacity will further accelerate multi-modal rate management developments. This will ultimately create a pathway to the deeper automation necessary to substantially increase productivity for freight forwarders grappling with exponential increases in volumes and margin pressure.”

LogisticsTI Take: These latest acquisitions further enhances WiseTech’s capabilities and thus allows logistics providers and forwarders the tech tools they need to ensure visibility and global rate booking/management and compliance.

The Jordan Company Invests in Odyssey Logistics & Technology

Summary: The Jordan Company, a middle-market private equity firm that manages funds with original capital commitments in excess of $8 billion, will become the majority shareholder of Odyssey Logistics & Technology.

Odyssey is a global logistics solutions provider with a freight network of over $2B. Services include intermodal services, trucking services, managed services, international transportation management and consulting.

According to Odyssey’s Chief Operating Officer and CFO, “We look forward to partnering with The Jordan Company as their financial investments and experience in the end markets that Odyssey serves are of significant value to the company as we continue to invest in and deliver specialized logistics solutions to our customers.”

LogisticsTI Take: Following the path of a few other logistics and tech providers, Odyssey appears to be turning to an equity firm to help finance expansion plans. Facing a highly competitive global market, the partnership should bode fairly well for any possible m&a deals.

Daseke Acquires R&R Trucking

Summary: Not exactly your typical trucking acquisition, Daseke acquired R&R Trucking, a firm that moves “specialty cargo requiring unique training and security clearances” including the transport of defense and commercial arms, ammunition and explosives, radioactive cargo and hazardous materials.

This latest acquisition marks Daseke’s fourth company addition since May 1, 2017.

According to the president and chief executive officer, Daseke Inc., “We took Daseke public in February of this year to accelerate our vision of building North America’s premier flatbed and specialized transportation company.” He continues, “With over 3,800 tractors and over 8,200 flatbed and specialized trailers, Daseke is the largest owner of flatbed and specialized equipment in North America, yet accounts for less than 1 percent of the highly fragmented $133 billion flatbed and specialized freight market.”

According to Daseke’s press release, “Fewer than 20 companies in the United States are approved to provide transportation for the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. They (R&R Trucking) are also one of the very few companies approved by the Department of Defense to own and operate high security terminals.”

LogisticsTI Take: Daseke is on a mission to control the fragmented North American flatbed and specialized equipment market. According to the company’s estimates they are the leader in the market but with only 1% of it. So, more than likely we’ll see more acquisitions from this company – Maybe a Canadian or Mexican company next? Stay tune.

C.H. Robinson Acquires Milgram & Company Ltd.

Summary: C.H. Robinson acquired Canadian forwarder and customs brokerage provider, Milgram, who also provides surface transportation and warehousing services, to 3,500 active customers. The company has six offices in Canada and one in the US. For the fiscal year ending May 31, 2017, Milgram earned about $155.3 million CAD (approximately $124 million USD) in gross revenues.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of C.H. Robinson noted, “This acquisition continues our global expansion and marks our third Global Forwarding acquisition in the past five years”

C.H. Robinson’s Global Forwarding business currently serves five continents and 31 countries, with over 4,000 employees and 125 offices worldwide, and according to its press release, is the #1 non-vessel operator (NVO) from China to the United States. Milgram will be integrated into C.H.Robinson’s Global Forwarding division and single global technology platform, Navisphere®.

LogisticsTI Take: With the future of NAFTA in question, this makes for an interesting but not really surprising acquisition. Despite the majority of its trade being with the US, Canada has been successful in signing a free trade agreement with the EU, unlike the US. In addition, the country has noted that with or without the US, NAFTA will still continue with Mexico.

For C.H. Robinson, it is working hard to diversify its offerings and has achieved success within the forwarding market with market share gains from leading forwarders. Expect the company to move further into the forwarding market with the possibility of more acquisitions.

Roadrunner Transportation Systems Sells Unitrans to Quick International Courier

Summary: Roadrunner Transportation Systems sold its wholly-owned subsidiary, Unitrans, to Quick International Courier for $95 million. Unitrans is an international cold chain logistics company that focuses on life sciences end markets. According to Roadrunner’s CEO, “We have agreed to divest Unitrans, Inc. which is an excellent business but did not integrate within our portfolio. We expect to use the proceeds from this transaction to reduce outstanding debt, redeem certain of our outstanding preferred stock, lower our leverage and reduce interest expense.”

LogisticsTI Take: In 2014, Roadrunner acquired Unitrans for $55.5 million financed by borrowings under Roadrunner’s credit facility. According to the CEO of Roadrunner at that time, “As we have indicated, one of our key strategic objectives is expanding our international capabilities to meet our customers’ total transportation and logistics needs. The addition of Unitrans diversifies and expands our existing global supply chain solution.”

Over the years, Roadrunner has made numerous acquisitions in order to expand its capabilities and reach. However, besides reducing debt and expense through this divestiture, it appears Roadrunner may be simplifying its offerings. In early 2017, the company rebranded its Global Solutions segment and renamed it Ascent Global Logistics.

Furthermore, as noted by JOC, Roadrunner experienced accounting issues at two of its subsidiaries in late 2016. In addition, the rapid growth and acquisition spurt over the years stretched its organizational structure.

Descartes Acquires MacroPoint

Summary: Descartes announced it acquired MacroPoint, LLC, an electronic transportation network providing location-based truck tracking and predictive freight capacity data content. According to the press release, US-based MacroPoint runs a connected network of over 2 million trucking assets and drivers. The company connects to trucks through integrations to on-board electronic logging devices (ELDs), transportation management systems, GPS-enabled smart phone applications and location-based mobile phone triangulation. MacroPoint uses this data to help transportation brokers, logistics service providers and shippers track the locations of deliveries in trucks. MacroPoint can also use this content to provide transportation brokers and shippers with predictive freight capacity to help identify early opportunities for additional freight moves.

According to the CEO of MacroPoint, “”We believe that the combination of Descartes’ Global Logistics Network with our cloud-based, real-time load visibility platform creates a truly differentiated offering that helps customers research, plan, execute and monitor multi-modal shipments around the world.”

LogisticsTI Take: Similar to WiseTech, Descartes has been on an acquisition spree, acquiring three companies in the past three months. As more businesses move towards online transactions, customers expect more transparent and efficient services from the logistics market. As such, the demand for technology solutions will continue.

WiseTech Global on the Acquisition Trail

Summary: It’s been a busy summer for the Australian technology company, WiseTech Global. In the span of one month, the company has made at least four acquisitions all of which to expand customs compliance and transportation management solutions in Brazil, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.

  • First up was in July with the acquisition of Brazil’s largest provider of automated solutions, Bysoft. DHL, FedEx, UPS, Schenker, Yusen and CH Robinson are all customers of the company.
  • Early August, WiseTech acquired Digerati, a provider of tariff research and compliance tools utilized by the Australasian customs broking community. The company has over 140 customers including DHL, Expeditors, FedEx, Panalpina and more. WiseTech CEO noted, “We will be utilizing the Digerati data set and customer experiences in our development pipeline for the next generation of border compliance aimed at substantially increasing timely, accurate and complete customs entries for our customers to better manage the exponential increase in transactions at the border.”
  • August 10, WiseTech announced the acquisition of Taiwan-based Prolink, a provider of automated customs compliance and forwarding solutions to over 350 businesses including DHL, UPS and Yamato. The company had also expanded into China and Hong Kong. WiseTech CEO noted,”We will combine the on-the-ground logistics compliance expertise of Prolink with our own core technology, the Universal Customs Engine, to build out the next generation of border compliance for the Taiwanese logistics industry.”
  • Finally, at least for now, WiseTech acquired CMS a provider of integrated road transport and logistics management systems across Australia and New Zealand. With this acquisition, it looks like WiseTech will build out its land transport and integrated telematics offerings.

LogisticsTI Take: As noted by WiseTech’s CEO the acquisitions were made to “increase the timeliness, accuracy and completeness of logistics compliance execution solutions for all our customers to better manage costs, risks and the exponential increase in transactions at the border.”

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Acquires Special Logistics Dedicated (SLD)

Summary: Based in Houston, Texas, SLD provides pool distribution services throughout North America via 14 terminals, fulfillment centers and a fleet of 850 pieces of equipment. Its service offerings include dedicated transportation at both dedicated and multi-use sites; cross-docking and contract logistics; LTL product consolidation’ commingled pool distribution and a Texas-based intrastate 57 foot dry van highway system.

According to the President and CEO of J.B. Hunt, “SLD’s strong customer base and strategically placed fulfillment centers position us as a top national pool distribution service provider. This acquisition will allow our customers to deploy ‘big and bulky’ inventories into key markets, improving order fulfillment times for final mile deliveries and further enhancing our e-commerce delivery capabilities.”

LogisticsTI Take: Increasing online sales of such bulky items as exercise equipment, mattresses and appliances have resulted in headaches in small parcel providers’ networks. As they implement ‘oversize’ charges and adapt networks to this trend, LTL providers are also taking advantage by offering fulfillment, final mile and transportation services. Pool distribution services typically provide cost savings to shippers and efficiencies for providers. Expect more such service solutions and acquisitions as this trend progresses.

Kuehne + Nagel Acquires Perishables Logistics Providers

Summary:  Kuehne + Nagel has added CFI, Commodity Forwarders Inc.,a US airfreight forwarder of perishables products and Trillvane Ltd, one of the largest perishables specialists in Kenya to its list of previous perishables acquisitions expanding its network with the addition of 150,000 tons of perishables.

CFI has 14 locations throughout the United States including Alaska and Hawaii and specializes in airfreight export and import and distribution of seafood, agricultural products, flowers and greens.

Meanwhile, according to the press release, the acquisition of Trillvane Ltd, Kenya, will enable Kuehne + Nagel to strengthen its position in perishables operations between Kenya and Europe, in particular to the UK.

According to a member of Kuehne + Nagel’s management board, “The two acquisitions mark another important step in our global perishable logistics strategy. These two transactions further strengthen and expand our fresh chain network connecting key production countries to major consumer markets. The business potential in the steadily growing global perishable sector is huge.

LogisticsTI Take: Growing demand for perishables logistics has prompted providers including Kuehne + Nagel and Panalpina to acquire niche providers. Acquisitions from other logistics providers may be likely as the need to differentiate intensifies. However this is a specialized solution so investments in networks and employee training will be needed as well.

Global Logistics Properties Acquired for about $11.6 Billion

Summary: Nesta Investment Holdings Limited and Global Logistic Properties Limited (GLP) announced the proposed acquisition by the wholly-owned subsidiary of Nesta Investment Holdings, MidCo Limited. MidCo is owned by a consortium comprising HOPU, Hillhouse Capital, SMG, BOCGI and Vanke. The Joint Announcement marks the conclusion of the independent strategic review, first announced on 1 December 2016, which led to the receipt of proposals on 30 June 2017.

According to Reuters, GLP is Asia’s biggest warehouse operator and manages a $41 billion portfolio of assets spread across China, Japan, Brazil and the United States. It claims such customers as and In December, the company announced it was conducting “an independent strategic review” of its business with JP Morgan.

LogisticsTI Take: The biggest deal ever recorded in Southeast Asia at about $11.6 billion, GLP says it is the biggest owner of warehouses in such countries as China, Japan and Brazil. It is the second largest in the U.S. after Prologis. The booming e-commerce market is driving demand for warehousing around the world and GLP has been one of the biggest benefactors of this trend.

Kerry Logistics Acquires 50% of Lanzhou Pacific Logistics Ltd

Summary: Kerry Logistics announced the acquisition of 50% shares in Lanzhou Pacific Logistics Ltd (‘LPL’). As the new shareholder and joint venture partner, Kerry Logistics will further partner with another shareholder of LPL, China Railway Container Transport Company Limited (‘CRCTC’), in the management and operations of LPL.

LPL specializes in intermodal brokerage services across China and Central Asia including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia. Leveraging on CRCTC’s extensive rail network in China, LPL has a nationwide rail freight network covering more than 100 cities and provides container freight stations and domestic door-to-door logistics services.

LogisticsTI Take: According to the Managing Director of Kerry Logistics, “This acquisition will enable us to draw on the vast opportunities created by the Belt and Road Initiative. Not only will it further strengthen our rail freight capability throughout China and Central Asia, but also allow us to consolidate our expertise in project logistics within our global network.”

Rhenus takes over O’Brien Logistics in Australia

Summary: Rhenus has acquired Australian-based forwarder O’Brien Customs and Forwarding Pty Ltd to expand its network of business sites in the Asia-Pacific region. O’Brien Customs and Forwarding handles air and sea freight consignments and provides customs and warehouse services.

“The takeover of O’Brien and the founding of the national company to be known as Rhenus Logistics Australia enable us to cover the whole of Australia with our services. As a result of the acquisition, we’re gaining experienced employees with local expertise for the global operations of the Air & Ocean business unit at Rhenus Freight Logistics too,” says Jan Harnisch, Rhenus COO Ocean Freight Asia.

The new Rhenus operations on the Australian continent are part of the logistics specialist’s expansion strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. Rhenus is planning to open a number of new business sites this year in this area, including facilities in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

LogisticsTI Take: Asia continues to present opportunities for logistics providers. This latest acquisition will allow Rhenus to continue its APAC expansion plans.

Hub Group Acquires Estenson Logistics

Summary: Hub Group’s subsidiary, Hub Group Trucking, Inc., has entered into an agreement to acquire Estenson Logistics, LLC for approximately $306 million.  According to Transport Topics  Estenson Logistics is the 14th largest dedicated contract carrier in North America. 

According to the press release, the addition of Estenson will provide Hub Group a more complete multi-modal solution to its customers, which will include intermodal, truck brokerage, logistics and dedicated trucking. 

LogisticsTI Take: A little over a year ago, Hub Group announced plans to diversify services via acquisitions particularly in air freight and transportation management. It’s taken its time in making that first move and the result appears to be a logical one. According to Hub Group, the company had been looking for a company in the dedicated space because its top 30 customers had expressed strong interest in having this type of service to complement shipping needs. It seems to us its a security measure for shippers because of regulatory requirements and declines in the number of truck drivers. Indeed, Hub Group management noted on their call, “There will continue to be strong growth among shippers to outsource their non-core functions which we believe will accelerate due to the upcoming changes in regulatory requirements as well as demographic changes in the driver market.”

UPS and SF Holding to Establish a Joint Venture

Summary: SF Holding, the parent company of SF Express, announced plans to establish a joint venture and collaborate to develop and provide international delivery services initially from China to the US, with expansion plans for other destinations. Through the agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval, both companies will utilize their own assets to enhance operational effectiveness and efficiency while aligning business processes in order to provide seamless customer care for all parties shipping out of China.

UPS’ network includes over 220 countries while SF Express’ Chinese network, encompassing more than 13,000 service points.

LogisticsTI Take: The agreement between the two companies appears to be a win-win for both. SF Express is looking to expand beyond its Asian borders and, with the assistance of UPS, it can do so quickly. Likewise, for UPS, it will enjoy SF Express’ deep penetration within China’s domestic market.

Descartes Buys ShipRush

Summary: Descartes Systems Group announced that it has acquired ShipRush, a provider of e-commerce multi-carrier parcel shipping solutions for small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). US-based ShipRush helps e-commerce SMBs and omni-channel retailers execute parcel shipments for last-mile delivery to customers.  With integrations to over 60 business systems, including leading ERP, e-commerce and supply chain platforms, the ShipRush platform helps customers to streamline their supply chain and reduce transportation costs by automatically importing orders, comparing carrier rates, printing shipping labels for all major carriers, and tracking through final delivery.

“As consumer and business-to-business buying patterns evolve, the parcel shipping market continues to grow in size and importance,” said Ken Wood, EVP of Product Management at Descartes. “Without a comprehensive omni-channel strategy that includes advanced parcel shipping capabilities, e-commerce retailers and SMBs alike can be left with escalating costs and poor delivery execution that can impact customer satisfaction.  ShipRush’s solutions help address this problem with tools to integrate with front-end commerce systems and parcel shipping providers for seamless package labeling, rating, tracking and postage processing.”

LogisticsTI Take: Descartes continues with its acquisition spree and this time ventures further into small parcels. Moving further into small parcel makes sense for Descartes particularly as e-commerce grows. By combining this latest acquisition with the rest of its portfolio, it could further expand its cross-border e-commerce capabilities and then some.

Kerry Logistics Acquires Majority Stake of Tuvia Italia S.p.A.

Summary: Kerry Logistics Network Limited has acquired a majority stake of Tuvia Italia S.p.A. as part of its ongoing expansion in Europe. Tuvia Italia provides air, maritime, land, multimodal shipments, and integrated logistics in Italy. Headquartered in Milan with offices in Verona, Venice, Trieste, and Nerviano, the company manages over 25,000 square meters of logistics facilities.

“We have been striving to build our presence in Italy over the years and we are glad to have Tuvia joining our global network. We will continue to strengthen our coverage in Europe to ensure we deliver comprehensive logistics services globally with local knowledge,” said Thomas Blank, Managing Director of Europe, Kerry Logistics.

LogisticsTI Take: Kerry Logistics has been growing its European footprint over the past six months, with acquisitions in Spain and Germany, and a new office in Warsaw, Poland. According to its press release, the addition of Tuvia Italia supports its strategy of combining local know-how in the European region with a comprehensive footprint and infrastructure in Asia, granting easy access to the Asian market.

UPS to Acquire Ireland-Based Nightline Logistics Group

Summary: UPS announced the company had entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Nightline Logistics Group, a leading express delivery and logistics company in Ireland.  Nightline has operated for more than 40 years in Europe and almost 30 years in Ireland. According to the President of UPS International, Nightline will “complement our existing services, increasing delivery density, while also adding innovative new service options.”

Indeed, Nightline’s Parcel Motel service offers a “virtual address” that allows customers to manage their online shopping deliveries easily. The service is similar to UPS Access Point Lockers and, according to the press release, could create the potential for  network synergies.

LogisticsTI Take: This latest acquisition will naturally enhance UPS’ presence in Ireland. But it will also set UPS to handle/offer more cross-border services between Ireland and the UK and Europe proper. An Post, the Irish post office has also been building its cross-border small parcel services and will be among the many competitors UPS will face within the Irish market. In addition, expanding its services within Ireland could be beneficial as the UK heads into Brexit negotiations.

Panalpina Expands Footprint in Denmark, Acquires Carelog

Summary: On the same day it announced the acquisition of Air Connection, Panalpina also announced it acquired Carelog. Carelog was founded in 2008 and is particularly strong in ocean freight. it originally began with customers in the furniture and fashion industry but then expanded to other sectors including machinery and agriculture.

As noted by Panalpina’s CEO, “We want to increase our market share in Denmark. The country has many export-oriented companies and its biggest industries, namely manufacturing, consumer, retail, fashion as well as healthcare are industries that we focus on and service globally.”

LogisticsTI Take: The Carelog acquisition should and will need to help with Panalpina’s struggle to improve ocean freight gross profit. For 2016, Panalpina’s ocean freight group recorded an 8% decline in gross profit and 7% decline in volume. First quarter of 2017 saw improvement in volume, up 7% but the company is still struggling with gross profits which declined 11%.

Panalpina to Acquire Air Connection, Freight Forwarder Specializing in Perishables

Summary: Panalpina announced plans to acquire Kenyan-based freight forwarder, Air Connection. Air Connection specializes in the export of flowers and vegetables. This acquisition follows Panalpina’s acquisition of Kenyan-based Airflo in 2016.

Panalpina notes in its press release that Air Connection is Kenya’s fourth largest forwarder in terms of air freight export volumes. Combined, the merged company will handle about 70,000 tons of perishables air freight per year.

LogisticsTI Take: Recently, Panalpina announced its interest to further expand perishables capabilities by establishing the Panalpina Perishables Network. The network provides a choice of multiple modes of transport depending on urgency and shipment size including temperature-controlled air freight, ocean reefer freight, temperature-controlled road and courier services, or any combination of these modes of transport.

The company further notes that it plans to become the preferred global supplier of perishables logistics by 2020. This recent acquisition will assist in this strategy. More acquisitions are likely to reach its 2020 goal.

DHL Acquires Control of Polar Transportes

Summary: DHL Supply Chain has acquired Brazilian road carrier Polar Transportes. Polar Transportes has been a service provider for DHL for over 15 years and runs a fleet of more than 300 trucks with national coverage.

According to the President of DHL Supply Chain Solution Brazil, “This investment will allow us to expand our Life Sciences and Healthcare capabilities in the Brazilian market. The temperature-controlled transport segment is one of the key elements in this industry. We strongly believe that Polar Transportes is the best player to support us in growing the business in this important area.”

LogisticsTI Take: Over the years, the Brazilian pharma logistics market has been of interest to many logistics providers. According to some industry analysts, Brazil is the second biggest pharmaceutical market in Latin America (behind Mexico). In addition, Brazil is emerging as a global manufacturing hub for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. FedEx and UPS have both made investments in the country over the past few years with FedEx acquiring general logistics provider Rapidao Cometa in 2012 combined with TNT’s acquisition of Expresso Aracatuba in 2009. UPS has made significant investments in building healthcare warehousing facilities throughout Latin America.

Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation Announce Merger of Two Companies

Summary: According to the press release, the merger will create a North American truckload transportation company with $5 billion in annual revenue and a “Top 5” truckload presence in dry van, refrigerated, dedicated, cross-border Mexico and Canada, and a significant presence in brokerage and intermodal. The holding company structure will enable the Knight and Swift businesses to operate under common ownership and share best practices, while maintaining distinct brands and operations. The combined business will own 23,000 truck-tractors and have 28,000 employees.

Knight Chief Executive Officer noted, “Under this ownership structure, we will be able to operate our distinct brands independently with experienced leadership in place. We look forward to learning from each other’s best practices as we seek to be the most efficient company in the industry.”

LogisticsTI Take: Is this finally the beginning of a long-awaited consolidation within the trucking industry? Besides declining numbers of drivers and regulatory requirements, the WSJ notes that  industry has been beset by weak pricing, excess capacity, tepid demand and changing shipping patterns brought about by the growth of e-commerce. The deal will be the biggest acquisition in the trucking business since XPO Logistics agreed to buy Con-way Inc. for $3 billion in 2015. We continue to expect more consolidation in the US trucking industry.

Royal Mail’s GLS Acquires US overnight Parcel Delivery Company, Postal Express

Summary: This latest acquisition follows its October 2016 acquisition of another US regional carrier, Golden State Overnight Delivery Service.

Postal Express operates in Oregon, Washington and Idaho offers overnight parcel delivery mainly to business-to-business customers across a variety of industries. In 2016, the company generated $42 million in revenue and delivered about 8.7 million parcels. Postal Express will be consolidated within GLS for reporting purposes but managed as a separate entity.

According to the CEO of GLS Group, ” The acquisition of Postal Express is in line with GLS’ strategy of careful and focused geographic expansion.”

LogisticsTI Take: Coincidence that both acquisitions are based on the US west coast?  Possibly taking advantage of the Asia-US trade lane or perhaps the fact that Amazon is based in the state of Washington? Additionally, could Royal Mail’s GLS subsidiary be piecing a global network for cross-border e-commerce parcels? More questions than answers but in order to grow/increase profits, Royal Mail is doing what it needs to do to survive in the global parcel market and that is expand globally.

MOL Invests in Malaysia’s PKT Logistics Group

Summary: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines announced that it acquired a 20.9% share in PKT Logistics Group. PKT provides such logistics solutions as freight forwarding, customs brokerage, contract logistics, haulage and distribution services. According to the press release, PKT operates warehouses at its ‘One Logistics Hub’ in Shah Alam, Selangor offering over 55,000 square meter of space in total. In 2014, the company acquired land to develop its ‘One Auto Hub’ to support the logistics needs of automotive and electronics manufacturers in the north of Malaysia.

LogisticsTI Take: The stake gives MOL an opportunity to diversify a bit more from the container market and further develop and expand its capabilities in Asia.

Grupo Mexico to Acquire the Florida East Coast Railway Holdings

Summary: GMexico Transportes S.A. de C.V. (GMXT) the transportation business unit of Grupo Mexico and the Florida East Coast Railway Holdings Corp. (FEC) announced they have entered into an agreement in which GMXT will acquire FEC.

GMXT has more than 6,200 miles of rail track within Mexico and connecting to international transportation networks through eight seaports and six border crossings handling 1.4 million loads per year. The acquisition of FEC will add it to the company’s existing operations in Texas.

FEC provides rail service along the east coast of Florida and is the exclusive provider of rail service to Port Miami, Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach. Its service is across 351 owned track and with connections to CSX and Norfolk Southern in Jacksonville, Florida, FEC is able to serve 70% of the US population in 1 to 4 days.

LogisticsTI Take: An alternative transportation solution for shippers utilizing cross-border trucking. With rail service within Mexico and linked in Texas and ultimately connecting into FEC’s line, Mexican shipments can travel to the US east coast without switching modes of transport, thus potentially reducing time in transit.

DAVACO Announces Strategic Merger with Crane Worldwide Logistics

Summary: DAVACO, a North-American provider of high-volume programs for retail, restaurants and hospitality brands announced the company had merged with Crane Worldwide Logistics. According to its press release, the combined entity will be able to provide “speed to market” solutions with reliable deliveries that aligns with time-sensitive programs as well as provide supply chain services that ensure just-in-time delivery of branded items.

The partnership is designed to provide a more complete and global solution from purchase order placement to the installation and refresh of brands to the execution of brand initiatives at each location.

LogisticsTI Take: The merger will give Crane Worldwide Logistics more industry related specialized solutions that could be extended globally and further differentiate itself.

Rhenus Takes a 40% Shareholding in the ARKON Shipping Group

Summary: Rhenus Group took a 40% share in the ARKON Shipping Group and also established a joint investment company, Rhenus – ARKON – Shipinvest GmbH. According to the press release, ARKON Shipping specializes in European coastal and container feeder services and global heavy lift and project shipping.

According to a member of the Rhenus Port Logistics Management team, “European short-sea shipping is part of the range of services provided by Rhenus. We’ve been able to gain a partner in the shape of ARKON to significantly expand this service and make it more flexible. ARKON’s experience in forming shipping pools has made the company one of the market leaders in European short-sea shipping. We want to jointly consolidate this position.”

LogisticsTI Take: Regardless of what mode of transport it may be, consolidation is in the air and this latest investment is no exception. As noted in the press release, Rhenus looks to become market leaders in European short-sea shipping. Indeed, the press release further notes, “the aim of the increase in capital and the establishment of a joint investment company…is to enable further expansion of vessels being commercially managed by ARKON in the future.”

Inttra Acquires Avantida

Summary: Inttra acquired Avantida, a European-based provider of empty container management for ocean carriers. According to Inttra, Avantida’s core business, digitized, automated container reuse and repositioning, addresses a major challenge for ocean carriers, transport companies, terminals, depots and other stakeholders. Industry experts estimate that empty container positioning costs the ocean shipping industry up to $20 billion a year, about 40% of handling costs.

According to Inttra’s CEO, “Acquiring Avantida advances our strategy of extending our reach into the intermodal value chain, enabling Inttra to better serve our customers.”

LogisticsTI Take:  The acquisition will expand Inttra’s reach into Europe’s intermodal market. As noted by Avantida’s CEO, the acquisition will also help reduce CO2 emissions and congestion at ports and surrounding communities.

Kewill and LeanLogistics Rebrand to BluJay Solutions

Summary: Having acquired LeanLogistics in 2016, Kewill and LeanLogistics have rebranded as BluJay Solutions. In addition, the company has unveiled its BluJay Global Trade Network. “It’s no longer just about multi-modal, omni-channel and booking tools – we’re moving toward a new era of business where global trade shifts to the forefront and supply chain becomes today’s battleground.” said the CEO of BluJay Solutions.

According to BluJay Solutions, its solution can manage goods and services across an integrated Global Trade Network; onboard services, carriers, customers and business units and collaborate with trade participants to expedite trade logistics. Data streaming across the network is captured so that organizations can analyze it to their advantage.

LogisticsTI Take: Through its acquisition of LeanLogistics, Kewill has expanded its carrier options and services. Platforms such as its BluJay Global Trade Network are growing so potential customers will need to weigh their options to decide which one will serve their needs best.

SNCF Logistics Acquires 45% of BLS Cargo

Summary: The financial stake will allow SNCF Logistics and BLS Cargo to collaborate in cross-border transport and present “international and consistent services on the market”. According to the General Manager of Railfreight and Intermodal Business Unit of SNCF Logistics, “We believe that the North/South corridor has great potential. The close collaboration between BLS Caro and our Captrain companies will enable us to create international services optimally geared for customers on the North/South corridor.”

LogisticsTI Take: Logistics and transportation providers are looking for ways to build a seamless European cross-border solutions via partnerships or acquisitions.

DB Schenker Acquires Equity Interest in Global Internet Marketplace uShip

Summary: DB Schenker has invested $25 million to strengthen its strategic collaboration with US-based online shipping marketplace uShip. This investment follows a 2016 announcement in which the two businesses signed a cooperation agreement. DB Schenker agreed to utilize the uShip platform for its European land transport platform, Drive4Schenker which connects with 30,000 transport partners.

CEO of Schenker AG said of the investment, “Expanding our successful partnership will expedite and streamline transport management and help us, as a market leader in European land transport, to handle even larger volumes of freight. We also intend to quickly develop and tap new opportunities to grow outside of our traditional business models. This is our largest equity interest in a digital company to date and it shows how serious we are about innovation at DB Schenker. We’re investing in shaping the future of digital logistics.”

CEO of uShip notes, “Unprecedented investment in logistics technology is revolutionizing freight transportation. Major players like DB Schenker are wisely embracing innovation to automate and digitize their operations, making them more efficient and profitable.”

LogisticsTI Take: Indeed, all logistics players need to take heed and invest in automation or run the risk of becoming obsolete. For providers considering investing in such online platforms, do your homework to find the best fit for your business.

Yusen Logistics (Europe) BV Announces Acquisition of Transfreight Automotive Logistics Europe

Summary: According to Yusen’s press release, the acquisition of Transfreight “dovetails well with Yusen Logistics’ pan European automotive offering.” In fact, the acquisition will expand Yusen’s offering further into the European market. Both companies offer expertise in cross-docking, transportation and manufacturing plant logistical support and operations, but with a complementary regional scope.

LogisticsTI Take: The press release notes that the Transfreight acquisition will add network consolidation points in Western Europe as well as multi-modal possibilities running between Northern and Southern Europe. In addition, the acquisition will boost Yusen’s footprint in Northern France.

Yusen Logistics Subsidiary in Malaysia to Expand Cold Chain Operations

Summary: TASCO Berhad, a Yusen Logistics subsidiary in Malaysia, has reached agreements to acquire Gold Cold Transport Sdn Bhd and MILS Cold Chain Logistics Sdn Bhd, two cold chain logistics providers in Malaysia. The proceedings are expected to be expected to be completed by the end of June.

GCT is one of the largest cold chain logistics providers in Malaysia. It has 174 reefer trucks and a warehouse storage capacity of about 31,000 square meters, primarily handling frozen and chilled foods. GCT manages more than 80% of the domestic share of ice cream distribution.

MCCL is the tenth largest cold chain logistics provider in Malaysia. It operates chilled and frozen warehouses close to Port Klang. Located near customs and port authorities, the area is also a commercial free zone.

LogisticsTI Take: Increasing demand for cold chain products has prompted Yusen to expand into this service. According to its press release, in Malaysia, demand for refrigerated transportation and cold storage facilities is rising as a result of population growth and increased personal consumption throughout the ASEAN region. In addition, due to anticipated growth of online shopping, increased demand for scheduled deliveries using reefer trucks is also expected.

TFI International Acquires World Courier Ground

Summary: TFI International, formerly known as TransForce announced that a wholly-own subsidiary of TFI International acquired World Courier Ground US, the US ground transportation division of World Courier, from AmerisourceBergen.

World Courier Ground is an asset light, time critical courier and logistics provider. It offers same day, rush trucking and warehousing services primarily to the medical industry as well as to the environmental, financial, chemical and industrial sectors. The company will be integrated into Dynamex and will operate under the new name TForce Critical.

LogisticsTI Take: Canadian-based TFI International continues to expand across the US via acquisitions. This latest acquisition, adds an important piece, critical delivery, which will give the company an entrance into the growing healthcare logistics and other time-critical niche markets.

UPS Acquires Freightex

Summary: UPS acquired UK-based Freightex to accelerate expansion of UK and European truckload brokerage business. Freightex is an asset-light provider of truckload, less-than-truckload, specialized and refrigerated over-the-road services. According to the press release, the acquisition immediately establishes UPS’ presence in the UK and European 3PL other-the-road brokerage market and launches a new global and regional UPS growth platform from an established base of customers and carriers.

UPS COO notes “We intend to align Freightex with Coyote for greater efficiency and continue to invest for further growth.” He continues, “UPS has many existing customers who will benefit from UK and European transportation brokerage capabilities. We will provide added value, helping customers and carriers streamline operations and have simplified visibility through the same Coyote system that they use in North America.

LogisticsTI Take: We view this acquisition as a very smart one. Instead of acquiring an asset-based provider (such as the failed attempt of TNT a few years ago) and spending time and money on integration, UPS is harnessing technology and brokerage capabilities to link regions while expanding into the much desired European road freight market. In this case, it appears that customers with operations in Europe/UK and the US will ‘soon’ (note the word ‘immediately’ used several times in the press release) be able take advantage of one platform to book, manage and track freight and who knows even parcel? Looking forward to seeing this expanded further to Asia.

NFI Completes Acquisition of Dominion Warehousing & Distribution

Summary: NFI announced at the end of 2016 plans to acquire Canadian 3PL, Dominion Warehousing & Distribution. According to the press release, the acquisition will increase NFI’s Canadian-based revenue to over $125 million and will also expand its Canadian service offering which includes freight brokerage, freight forwarding, asset-based transportation and value-added warehousing and distribution. The acquisition will bring NFI’s warehousing footprint to over 31 million square feet including 2 million square feet of physical locations in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver added by the Dominion acquisition.

According to NFI’s CEO, “…We will add new blue-chip customers to our portfolio and at the same time provide our existing customers additional warehousing capacity in these markets.”

NFI’s President of Distribution further notes, “Dominion provides a great opportunity for NFI to enter into new industries like specialty paints and chemicals and expanding existing ones.”

LogisticsTI Take: Similar to Radiant’s acquisition (see below), NFI’s acquisition also expands its solutions and reach into Canada. In addition it increases its warehousing footprint by 2 million square feet.

Radiant Logistics to Acquire Canada-Based Lomas Logistics

Summary: Radiant Logistics’ wholly-owned subsidiary, Wheels International, has expressed its intent to acquire Lomas Logistics, a division of L.V. Lomas Limited. The press release notes that Lomas Logistics operates as a 3PL providing services to companies in such industries as consumer goods, healthcare, food and technology from locations in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada.

The transaction is expected to close in the quarter ending March 31, 2017. According to Radiant’s founder and CEO, “…We have always viewed Wheels International as a platform to support our Canadian-centric acquisition initiatives. In addition to leveraging our core competency and purchasing power across several key market verticals, Lomas Logistics also brings a unique healthcare service offering with licenses from Health Canada to distribute medical devices, pharmaceutical and natural health products which is expected to accelerate the development of a robust healthcare service offering for Wheels and Radiant.”

LogisticsTI Take: Radiant is carrying on a necessary trend among 3PLs – expand into new geographies and into new verticals. A good move for Radiant and Wheels with additional opportunities for cross-border services as well.

DPDGroup Takes Control of wnDirect

Summary: Already a shareholder in wnDirect, DPDGroup took full control of the ecommerce parcels company at the end of 2016. Combined, the group will have the scale and infrastructure to expedite their development plans which includes expanding cross-border solutions.

According to E-commerce News, DPDgroup is adding partnerships throughout the world to increase the number of B2C volumes coming into Europe, especially from the US and China. For wnDirect, its revenue is dramatically grown over the years. It already works with DPDgroup businesses in Europe and helps DPD Direct by providing a network solution for this export product of DPDgroup.

LogisticsTI Take: Cross-border e-commerce continues to grow and logistics, small parcel and niche logistics providers are all expanding solutions/service levels to meet the needs of this complicated offering. DPDgroup looks to become a global leader as it establishes relationships with providers in a variety of countries.

Union Pacific Acquires Railex LLC Assets

Summary: Union Pacific announced the acquisition of Railex LLC’s refrigerated and cold storage distribution assets in Delano, California; Wallula, Washington; and Rotterdam, New York. According to the Vice President and General Manager – Agricultural Products, “The integration of their (Railex) highly efficient cross dock facilities and logistics capabilities into Union Pacific’s broader Food Network allows us to offer our customers increased access to a wider range of capacity and service solutions in a rail-centric cold chain.”

LogisticsTI Take: Declines in volumes, particularly in petroleum/oil & gas, has led many of the Class I railroads to seek alternative services/solutions. Expanding its food cold-chain capabilities is a smart move for Union Pacific as demand for fresh goods increase.