Amware Logistics Services said Tuesday it has acquired Parcel Port, a small non-asset based warehousing, distribution and fulfillment company based in Arizona that has a strong focus on managing e-commerce parcel delivery.
Amware, headquartered in Eagle, Colo., is an Eastern provider of warehousing and transportation services that bought Parcel Port to expand to new locations and take on direct consumer fulfillment for Internet-based and catalog retailers, said Vin Gulisano, Amware's president and former chief executive officer of Parcel Port, in an interview.
The third-party logistics provider controls 2 million square feet of warehousing space from Toronto to Florida, including 1 million square feet in the Atlanta metro area. It provides assembly, distribution, pick-up and delivery, truckload and LTL brokerage, parcel management, packaging, intermodal transloading and other services for clients ranging from big-box retailers to chemical shippers.
ParcelPort offers a variety of traditional value-added logistics services such as transportation management, freight consolidation, pick-and-pack, kitting and shrink wrapping. It also does a lot of small package delivery for business-to-business and direct-to-consumer customers, many of whom import their products from Europe and Asia. The company's fulfillment role extends to running customer-facing Websites for ordering and processing payments, such as the front-end system that allows employees at Bayer Pharmaceuticals to place internal orders for samples and materials.
Parcel Port operates fulfillment centers in North Haven, Conn.; Phoenix; Atlanta; and Easton, Pa. The privately-held company opened the latter two facilities a year ago and doubled its sales, mostly from new customers, during that period, Gulisano said.
Amware is targeting online retailing because of its strong growth potential, CEO Mark Wilhelm said. Last year, e-commerce sales in the United States increased 16 percent to $194 billion.
Amware's goal is to blend the traditional warehouse model with high-capacity, scalable, national parcel fulfillment for electronic retailers and direct sales outlets similar to Avon. The order fulfillment sector is fragmented, with many smaller companies that have one or two locations, but lack the professional warehouse management capabilities of a large 3PL, Gulisano said. Many logistics services providers also fulfill parcel orders for a small number of customers out of select heavy-freight facilities on an ad hoc basis.
"A business-to-consumer order fulfillment warehousing network on a national basis doesn't exist," Gulisano said.
Amware has created a division called Amware Fulfillment Services and is in the process of integrating Parcel Port's order processing-capabilities into its Atlanta facilities. Co-locating functions will enable the company to share personnel and other resources.
Gulisano said that having a hybrid business-to-business and business-to-consumer logistics model is helpful when customers that sell over the Internet migrate into brick-and-mortar retailing, or vice versa.
Distribution centers have different operating requirements depending on the type of business being served. A facility that supports manufacturers or retail stores may receive a few large orders for a limited number of products that fill an entire truck, while an e-commerce fulfillment center may receive thousands of individual orders a day for myriad types of products that are delivered by FedEx, UPS, the U.S. Postal Service or a parcel consolidator.
Parcel Port's customized IT system assigns orders to the warehouse best suited to deliver the merchandise as quickly as possible. It also creates pick plans to consolidate orders that are exactly alike so workers aren't randomly searching for each order one by one, and can efficiently manage high order volumes.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. - Eric Kulisch