A.P. Moller – Maersk further bolstered its position in the e-commerce space on Friday when it announced the acquisition of Visible Supply Chain Management (Visible SCM), a U.S.-based business-to-consumer, e-commerce logistics and parcel delivery company. Denmark-headquartered Maersk said the acquisition will allow its B2C segment to reach three-quarters of the U.S. direct-to-consumer market within 24 hours and 95% within 48 hours.
“We have set out to build strong e-commerce logistics capabilities that complement our existing end-to-end supply chain offering,” said Vincent Clerc, CEO of Maersk Ocean & Logistics. “Visible SCM’s operating model and value proposition will strengthen our customers’ e-commerce logistics, enabling them to sell through any sales channel, deliver in any way and manage their supply chains seamlessly.”
Based in Salt Lake City, Visible SCM operates nine fulfillment centers across the country, which will complement Maersk’s existing warehouses. Visible SCM handles around 200,000 packages per day and 200 million per year, fulfilling orders with 99.8% accuracy, which will help Maersk customers improve the speed and service coverage of their supply chains.
“While our customers trust us with a wide part of their supply chain,” Clerc said, “this acquisition will contribute to an even better end-to-end experience by providing more key e-commerce capabilities. The new supply chain architecture allows more of our small and medium-sized customers to tap into the growth driven by the increased online consumer shopping.”
Visible SCM’s nationwide e-commerce fulfillment network means that its customers aren’t limited to relying on just one fulfillment location, shortening order distances and lowering last-mile delivery costs. That added agility can help smaller e-commerce operations compete with the big players.
“Teaming up with Maersk creates an exciting new chapter for our company and enables us to ensure every e-commerce business has access to an efficient, economical supply chain so they can win with their customers,” said Casey Adams, president of Visible SCM.
Rather than spend billions to build out their own network of fulfillment centers like Amazon, smaller e-commerce businesses can tap into the Maersk-Visible SCM ecosystem of fulfillment sites. It’s a trend that’s sweeping the logistics space, with many companies basing their entire operations around fulfillment-as-a-service.
Alongside the sister trend of increased e-commerce demand, it’s no wonder why. Customers are increasingly expecting their e-commerce orders to arrive within hours rather than days, and Maersk’s acquisition will help its clients to reach that expectation.
“When we talk e-commerce to customers, they want to significantly grow their business through this channel, handle demand curves better and broaden their reach to the U.S. market and cross-border markets. The combination of Maersk Warehousing & Distribution, Performance Team and Visible SCM will enable a full omnichannel solution to create more reliable delivery flows and bandwidth,” said Narin Phol, managing director of Maersk North America.
Maersk also announced Friday that it intends to acquire B2C Europe Holding B.V., a logistics company focusing on B2C parcel delivery in Europe. The company offers its cross-border services to retailers, brands and logistics operators, and its acquisition will allow Maersk to offer “Europe-wide” last-mile rates on one platform. The deal is expected to close in Q4.