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Mega port operator PSA to buy US freight forwarder BDP

Company is part of Singapore government’s investment portfolio

Ship-to-shore cranes arriving at PSA International's Antwerp terminal. (Photo: PSA International)

PSA International, a global port operator owned by the Singaporean government, said Wednesday it has agreed to acquire Philadelphia-based freight management company BDP International, building on the trend of asset-based transportation providers expanding to offer customers end-to-end logistics services.

PSA is the largest container terminal operator in the world based on throughput. Last year it handled 86.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units.

BDP, which is owned by New York-based private equity firm Greenbriar Equity Group, is the 30th-largest third-party logistics provider in the U.S. with $1.5 billion in gross revenue, according to research and consulting firm Armstrong & Associates. It manages international shipments for companies in a range of industries, including chemicals, industrial products, health care and retail. It has 133 offices worldwide.

Terms of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions, were not disclosed.

PSA is owned by Temasek Holdings, the sovereign wealth fund for the government of Singapore. It began as the Port of Singapore Authority and handled its first container vessel in 1972. Today it operates more than 60 marine, rail and inland terminals around the world, including 25 deepwater port facilities, and handles about a fifth of the world’s transshipped cargo. 

PSA has been offering non-port logistics services for several years, but BDP is its first purchase of a global third-party logistics provider. PSA’s deep pockets and extensive warehouse capacity will also facilitate BDP’s international growth.

BDP’s “strengths will complement and extend PSA’s capabilities to provide agile, resilient and innovative cargo solutions. Customers will be able to benefit from the extensive capabilities of both BDP and PSA, while accelerating their shift towards sustainable supply chains. We see this as a significant and strategic step forward in our vision to co-create an Internet of Logistics,” PSA International CEO Tan Chong Meng said in a statement.

Persistent supply chain disruptions and equipment shortages during the COVID pandemic have underscored the complexity of international logistics, which requires coordination and handoffs between multiple parties to deliver goods from the factory floor to store shelves across the world. Many large companies are looking to take greater control of the process by relying on fewer parties that have the capacity and expertise to reliably move large quantities of goods.

“With the extensive capabilities of PSA and their significant market presence worldwide, we will undertake a new chapter of growth with incredible opportunities to optimize global supply chain activities for our customers,” BDP Chief Executive Mike Andaloro said.

Greenbriar acquired BDP in December 2018 and made significant investments in technology and service offerings.

Consolidation across freight modes, and between non-asset and asset players, has become more common in recent years. Last month, giant container shipping line Maersk signed a deal to acquire German freight forwarder Senator International to complement its in-house airline Star Air. This year it also acquired three e-commerce companies.

CMA CGM, another major ocean carrier, this year launched an air cargo airline following the 2019 purchase of CEVA Logistics. The company also took 100% ownership of the Fenix Marine Services terminal at the Port of Los Angeles in November. 

Other container terminal operators, such as DP World, also offer warehousing and other logistics services.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]