Maersk completes acquisition of Pilot

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Shipping giant AP Moller Maersk has completed its acquisition of US forwarder Pilot Freight Services in a deal worth $1.7bn.

As a result of the acquisition, international and domestic supply chain provider Pilot Freight Services will be rebranded to Pilot – A Maersk Company.

The transaction price of $1.7bn equals to an enterprise value of $1.8bn post IFRS-16 lease liabilities.

Pilot specialises in first, middle and last mile as well as border crossing solutions, and in the big and bulky freight segment in North America for B2C and B2B distribution.

The company operates a network of 87 stations and hubs. It uses mainly third party providers of trucking and has access to controlled capacity. The combined Pilot and Maersk scale will offer customers approximately 150 facilities in the US, including distribution centres, hubs and stations.

According to consultant Armstrong & Associates, Pilot was the world’s 24th largest airfreight forwarder in 2020 with volumes of 240,000 tonnes.

The previous owners of Pilot were private equity firm ATL Partners and investor British Columbia Investment Management Corporation.

Narin Phol, regional managing director of Maersk North America, said: “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.”

Pilot Freight Services chief executive officer Zach Pollock said: “Teaming up with an industry leader like Maersk is a natural fit and will enable our company to tap into significant, new future growth opportunities for our customers and employees. We like Maersk’s continuous improvement mindset and active investment pattern in expanding supply chain solutions so we’re excited to work together in our expanded role.”

In December 2021, Maersk announced the purchase of Hong-Kong-based LF Logistics. In November 2021, the company expanded its presence in air cargo with the purchase of forwarder Senator International and an investment in freighter aircraft.

Maersk swoops on Pilot to expand US forwarding presence

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