Seko to pursue more acquisitions following first all-in purchase, executive says

Seko looking at more acquisitions following first all-in purchase (Photo: Seko)

Fresh from the first full acquisition in its 42-year history, third-party logistics provider Seko Logistics will stay on the acquisition hunt into the new year, its chief marketing executive said today.

Privately-held Seko, based in Itasca, Ill., said last Thursday that it acquired GoodShip International Inc., a Chicago-based shipping, customs brokerage and compliance firm, for an undisclosed sum. Seko has entered into partnerships in the past, and last September it acquired a majority stake in Omni-Channel Logistics, a long-time partner, to boost Seko’s e-commerce and information technology offerings. The Goodship acquisition takes Seko’s ambitions into unchartered territory, however.

Brian Bourke, Seko’s vice president, marketing, said the company is evaluating “tuck-in” acquisitions to fill out product and service gaps in its portfolio. Its strategy includes “engaging with small, independent (freight) forwarders that want to hear about the value of joining our network,” Bourke said

Seko may still decide to partner up with companies instead of offering to buy them, Bourke said. “The first thing for other companies to realize is that we’re ready to listen – and (be) able to demonstrate what coming together with Seko can do for them and their customers,” he said. The company will also explore what Bourke called “out-of-the-box” opportunities in the coming year. He didn’t elaborate.

Over the past 13 months, Seko has pushed to transform itself from a solid yet somewhat stodgy freight forwarder into a 3PL with its fingers in various pies, most notably cross-border e-commerce, an area that is growing at a faster clip than overall e-commerce. It is also an area that many 3PLs that have not been aggressively pursuing.

In December 2017, it rolled out nationwide line-haul service for online orders of heavyweight and outsized goods using the lower decks of passenger aircraft, and at prices for its economy product that were competitive with less-than-truckload services. Seko picks up the products by truck from the customer’s warehouse or from one of its own and delivers them to the origin airport. It then collects the goods at the destination airport and trucks them to their final destinations.

Last March, Seko expanded into Mexico by opening offices in Laredo/Nuevo Laredo, McAllen/Reynosa, Mexico City, Monterrey, Toluca and Queretaro. In August, it announced a partnership with Hermes Germany, a large player in the European parcel and so-called “2-man-handling” market.

Founded in 1995, GoodShip focuses on the eastbound trans-Pacific trade. emphasis on the Trans-Pacific Eastbound cargo movements. The transaction will fortify Seko’s international capabilities at its main Chicago gateway, it said. The company plans to disclose U.S. Midwest expansion plans in the second quarter.

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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.