The Friday Five: Lions, Tigers, and Acquisitions, Oh My!
Friday Five

The Friday Five: Lions, Tigers, and Acquisitions, Oh My!

May 28, 2021

DSV acquires Agility’s Global Integrated Logistics [Supply Chain Movement]

DSV continues to expand two years after acquiring the Swiss company Panalpina with the announcement of acquiring Agility’s Global Integrated Logistics (GIL) from Kuwait.  The acquisition was announced on May 21, 2021.  Once finalized, this will make DSV one of the largest logistics service providers in the world with approximately $22 billion in revenue and over 70,000 employees. 

On top of more than quadrupling its workforce, the addition of GIL will increase DSV’s presence in air and sea shipping with more 2.8 million containers (TEU) and increasing air cargo to 1.6 million tons.  Additionally, combining GIL’s contract logistics capabilities with DSV’s solution division will increase storage capacity to more than 1.4 million square meters largely in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.  And if that isn’t enough to make you exclaim “Oh my gracious!” like CBS’s Verne Lundquist watching Phil Mickelson chip in out of the sand during the recent PGA Championship final round, GIL will increase DSV’s ability to compete across air, ocean, and over-the-road by adding road freight operations in Europe and the Middle East.  Oh my gracious, indeed.

The consolidation of logistics providers and their networks will provide ongoing benefits for customers, especially those who are looking for multi-modal support all in one place.   We will be on the lookout for the next LSP acquisition announcement because we do not see this slowing down for a while.

E2open acquires BluJay Solutions [E2open]

What’s old is new again.  Following up on its promise of continuing to grow the company after announcing they would (again) file for IPO, E2open  wasted no time finding the right company to add to its arsenal of growing strengths.  E2open announced yesterday, May 27, 2021, they would be increasing their execution footprint with the acquisition of BluJay Solutions, a cloud-based execution platform valued at US$1.7 billion.   BluJay Solutions brings an impressive set of solutions for shippers, logistic service providers, and freight forwarders along with a large trade network that supports over 5,700 global customers.

This new addition will strengthen E2open’s global reach and existing customers could benefit from an expanded network and more execution SaaS solutions like BluJay’s TMS system. Michael Farlekas, president and chief executive officer at E2open describes the synergies of combining strengths, “Combining E2open’s end-to-end platform and large trading partner network with BluJay’s leading logistics execution software, we will provide more robust capabilities and value to our customers, unlocking a greater opportunity to accelerate our long-term growth. This transformative acquisition advances our strategy and is consistent with our approach to M&A over the last five years.”

Which begs the question, where will the next consolidation be in the ever-competitive logistics technology space?

project44 continues their ocean expansion with ClearMetal acquisition [Freightwaves]

Hot on the trail of the Ocean Insights acquisition, project44 acquires ClearMetal further increasing its ocean visibility capabilities. ClearMetal, based in San Francisco, brings a “continuous delivery experience” to international freight through machine learning algorithms that can "forecast" supply chain disruptions.  

By adding ClearMetal capabilities, project44 improves its ability for upstream supplier visibility. Along with increasing their engineering team, the acquisition brings project44 a team of data scientists from elite Silicon Valley companies.

SC Ports will welcome largest container ship ever to the East Coast [AJOT]

I’m channeling my inner Sir Mix-a-Lot when I say “I like big boats and I cannot lie!” which seems fitting since the largest container ship to ever call on the East Coast is arriving at the Port of Charleston on May 28, 2021, as its last port of call before heading back overseas.  

The CMA CGM MARCO POLO is an impressive 1,300 feet long and can carry up to 16,022 TEUs.  The vessel is breaking individual big-ship records at every North American East Coast port it visits on this trip including Halifax, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Savannah, and Charleston.  For Port of Charleston, the Marco Polo will break the previous record set last September when it welcomed the 15,072 TEU CMA CGM Brazil which came in at 1,200ft, just 100ft shy of the record that will be set this week. 

A deepening project that began in 2011 with a study from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, now makes Charleston Harbor the deepest port on the East coast at a depth of 52-foot.  And it couldn’t come a moment too soon with the unprecedented demand for ocean freight triggered by rising e-commerce sales and retail goods.  

Deeper ports, bigger ships, and more cargo mean more maritime-related high-wage jobs in a state that already attributes 1 in 10 jobs created as a result of the SC Ports. 

Changing the supply chain transformation mindset [Supply Chain Movement]

In a recent SCM webinar that covered the future of work in the supply chain, Lora Cecere and Sean Culy claim “We have more technology than ever, but we don’t know what to do with it.”

It’s true.  Sometimes technology just makes things more complicated.  Sometimes we have to take a step back, refocus on the bigger picture, and not let technology get in the way of the overall goal.  We need to change our mindset.  Not always as easy as it sounds.  

A perfect example is covered in Sean Culey’s book Transition Point where he recalls a conversation around supply chain transformation with an Amazon worker who was struggling with how to integrate highly qualified and intelligent professionals into the Amazon way of thinking who came from more traditional companies.  The problem was that he couldn’t ‘deprogram’ those employees,” said Culey. “They were programmed for short-term thinking and risk avoidance. They played not to lose, whereas Amazon wanted them to play to win. Because Amazon was unable to change them, they became a problem for the teams they led. In most cases, there was no other solution but to part ways.”

Culey claims new technology is less important than a mindset, culture, and strategy.  Unless you can articulate to the people with the technology the value you need to create for your customers, you aren’t going to get very far.  You can fill your company with specialists in data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. But if you don’t know what those specialists should be doing and if those specialists don’t know what value they should be creating, you will be left with an organization that is rich in initiatives and poor in results. Data is worthless if it can’t be used to support the strategy or contribute to the creation of customer value.”

Let’s not let technology stand in the way of solving a customer’s problem.  Good advice. Time to change our mindset for how we should look at delivering customer value.  Keep it simple, stupid.

 

Thanks for stopping by, folks! Happy Friday! Don’t forget to check out last week’s news and come back next week for the following Friday Five logistics news roundup!