Maersk’s acquisition of Pilot Freight Services is a done deal

Following a February 9 announcement in which it said it intended to acquire Glen Mills, Penn.-based 3PL, last-mile and full mile services provider Pilot Freight Services, from Pilot’s owners, New York-based private equity firm ATL Partners, and Canadian institutional investor British Columbia Investment Management Capital, Copenhagen, Denmark-based A.P. Moeller Maersk, an integrated container logistics services provider, said this week the deal is now official.

Maersk officials said that the purchase price is $1.68 billion (USD). They added that bringing Pilot into the fold will benefit shippers by offering customized international, domestic and cross-border logistics to Maersk’s North America landside logistics capabilities for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) distribution models, as well as new supply chain capabilities for the big and bulky sector with white glove home delivery service.

When the acquisition was initially announced in February, Maersk said that it plans to extend its integrated logistics offering deeper into the supply chain of its customers to complement previous acquisitions it has made to provide integrated logistics solutions in North America, including Performance Team (PT) (B2B warehousing and distribution) and Visible SCM (e-commerce warehousing and parcel distribution).  Maersk also said that Pilot will be adding new services within the big and bulky e-commerce segment, and subsequently boost cross-selling opportunities, as well as create significant cost synergies by leveraging capabilities across the different parts of service solutions.

Established in 1970, Pilot is a full-service transportation and logistics provider with 87 stations and hubs throughout North America with B2C expertise in retail, home furnishing and consumer electronics, noted a Maersk customer advisory. The combined Pilot and Maersk scale will offer customers over 150 facilities in the U.S., including distribution centers, hubs and stations, adding that its offerings combined with Maersk’s international network will “create significant new capabilities.”

“Our customers are looking for us to accelerate their supply chain speed, remove handoffs and constantly improve their end-to-end, omni-channel business model to reach their financial growth goals.  Pilot’s expertise and existing infrastructure enables us to achieve these goals by creating more agile, nimble supply chains to serve customers the way they want to be served,” said Narin Phol, Regional Managing Director of Maersk North America, in a statement.  

Tom Boyd, Media Relations Manager, Maersk North America, previously told LM that a major driver for what led to Maersk have interest in Pilot was that Maersk had customers asking for the services and capabilities provided by Pilot.

“These customers were experiencing strong sales growth through their e-commerce channels but needed more capacity in the fulfillment, delivery, install and removal process inherent in the home delivery process for things like appliances, electronics etc.,” said Boyd.

As for the competitive advantages associated with the pending acquisition of Pilot, Boyd explained that the main benefit is Maersk has customers who were asking for this type of supply chain capability, and it found a company who will easily integrate and complement its current business model.

“We also gain significant more channel capacity in the B2C sector with Pilot’s expertise and network,” he said. “Lastly, this is a growth segment for our customers who can realize more sales growth (driven by e-commerce channels and online consumer buying) if they can perform well on the home delivery experience.”

Ben Gordon, Managing Partner of Cambridge Capital, an investor in niche supply chain leaders and also Managing Partner of BGSA Holdings, a leading mergers and acquisitions advisory firm focused on the transportation, logistics, and supply chain technology sector, told LM that this deal illustrates the continuation of an underlying trend.

“Shipping giants like Maersk are converting their windfall 2021 profits in shipping into long-term sustainable growth in logistics,” he said. “They’ve acquired Visible SCM in parcel logistics, LF Logistics in global freight forwarding, and now Pilot in big/bulky last-mile logistics. I expect Maersk will continue to buy logistics services businesses. And I expect other shipping lines to follow suit.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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