Maersk buying US warehousing and distribution company

A.P. Møller – Maersk said Wednesday it had agreed to buy U.S. warehousing and distribution firm Performance Team in a $545 million deal.

The Danish shipping giant said the total includes about $225 million in lease liabilities. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and the transaction is expected to close April 1.

“With this acquisition we invest in premium operational capabilities to significantly boost our existing Warehousing and Distribution offering. This will strengthen our ability to deliver products and solutions that meet our customers’ end-to-end supply chain needs,” Maersk Ocean and Logistics CEO Vincent Clerc said in a statement. “With its strong platform, Performance Team is a good match for A.P. Møller – Maersk as they complement our current Warehousing and Distribution proposition to customers in North America and will enable future growth.”

Maersk said it is targeting the Warehousing and Distribution component to offer more supply chain options and flexibility to its Ocean customers and noted that e-commerce in North America is growing at a rate of 12% annually.

The company said in November that its Logistics and Services division recorded third-quarter 2019 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $94 million, up 34% compared to the third quarter of 2018. Revenues were “positively impacted by increasing revenue in intermodal and warehousing and distribution, offset by declining revenue in sea and air freight forwarding and supply change management,” Maersk said.

Clerc was named CEO of Ocean and Logistics in December, after the departure of former Chief Operating Officer Søren Toft for MSC. Clerc, who joined Maersk in 1997, formerly served as chief commercial officer.

Earlier this month, Maersk announced that it had hired Patrick Jany, who, as chief financial officer, will be tasked in part with generating more revenue from inland logistics operations. He is slated to begin work May 1.

Narin Phol, regional managing director of Maersk in North America, said Wednesday, “We are going all the way for our customers, offering new ways to optimize their supply chains, grow their e-commerce business and find warehouses and distribution options. 

“Performance Team’s expertise, market reputation and scalability will create significant performance gains for our customers that grow and complement our existing Maersk Warehousing and Distribution product in North America. We are especially excited to strengthen our e-commerce fulfillment capabilities since many of our retailers are looking to grow online retail sales in 2020 and beyond,” Phol said.

On its website, Performance Team said it handles third-party distribution and logistics out of its hubs in Los Angeles/Long Beach, Hayward and Inland Empire, California; Miami; Louisville, Kentucky; Shreveport, Louisiana; New York/New Jersey; Charleston, South Carolina; and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Founded in 1987, Performance Team, headquartered in El Segundo, California, serves more than 5,000 customers and operates in 8.6 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space around the country, according to its website. 

Performance Team’s services are listed as distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, deconsolidation and transload, transportation and supply chain management.

Craig Kaplan, who will retain his title as CEO of Performance Team, said in Wednesday’s announcement, “Joining a global container logistics leader like A.P. Møller – Maersk is the ideal fit for our company’s future growth, our customers and our associates. Maersk has a strong presence here in the U.S. They have a continuous improvement mindset like ours and together we can clearly deliver attractive logistics solutions that make our customers more competitive while ensuring our employees grow with the business.”  

When asked why Maersk was acquiring Performance Team, Tom Boyd, Maersk’s regional communication manager for North America, responded with a lengthy list that included:

• Performance Team is a “strategic fit to our existing Maersk Warehousing and Distribution product by strengthening our capabilities, enabling us to offer customers more services, more warehouse space, more trucking capabilities and an improved, modern information system to manage their supply chain.”

• Performance Team is known for its warehousing fulfillment services, e-commerce, inland transportation and distribution services.

• Performance Team’s key strengths are its fulfillment services and distribution capabilities to customer warehouses and stores.

• The company is “well-managed, profitable, family-owned, U.S.-based and focused on import volumes.”

• The warehouse business is asset-light and operates in both dedicated and multiclient facilities.

• The transportation service fleet consists of owned, leased and rented units.

• “Performance Team’s people are known in the market for their strong engineering and operating process focus.”

The statement provided by Boyd also said Performance Team excels in “engineering, implementation and continuous improvement, which are critical to the constantly changing requirements of supply chain performance.”

Performance Team also has “a ‘SWAT’ team of 23 specialist managers who handle the startup distribution/transportation operations and continuous improvement initiatives with customers,” the statement said.

In addition, the company operates a drayage and over-the-road transportation business with 71 owned and 275 leased trucks and trailers. “This added truck capacity will address the demands of Maersk’s customers who are looking for more truck capacity in their supply chains,” the statement said.