Acquisition will expand last-mile delivery services for heavy and hard-to-handle goods
By Brian Straight, Managing Editor - Modern Shipper
Wednesday April 7, 2021
Global transportation and logistics provider Pilot Freight Services has expanded its last-mile delivery capabilities with the acquisition of DSI Logistics (DSI), a non-asset-based provider of last-mile home delivery and installation for heavy and hard-to-handle goods.
Terms were not disclosed. The transaction closed March 31, Pilot said in a release. DSI was owned by Headhaul Capital Partners and Argosy Private Equity.
Pilot, which is owned by ATL Partners and British Columbia Investment Corp., operates in 190 countries with 75 locations in North America. Pilot provides logistics services for many industries, including business-to-business, e-commerce, health care, retail and perishables.
DSI handles customer deliveries for Lowe’s, Williams-Sonoma and Ashley Furniture, among other major retailers.
“Pilot serves as a key partner to many shippers who are experiencing the rapid growth and increasing transportation requirements associated with e-commerce,” said Zach Pollock, CEO of Pilot Freight Services. “The acquisition of DSI was a natural fit and another successful step in Pilot’s e-commerce strategy.”
Pilot will integrate the entire DSI Logistics leadership team and employee base, consisting of more than 200 individuals, into its corporate structure to support and enhance the Pilot Last Mile Home and National Customer Service teams, Pilot said.
Last-mile heavy haul is among the fastest-growing segments within e-commerce and ship-from-store sales. According to a FreightWaves FreightIntel Research white paper published in June 2020, this change has altered the final mile.
“This change has required adaptation and new skills by LTL carriers and specialized final-mile providers. Rather than trying to completely transform their historical business model, many LTL and truckload carriers are choosing to expand into final mile inorganically via acquisition,” the paper noted.
These goods are typically items such as furniture, appliances, fitness equipment and office equipment.
“Shippers today are increasingly adjusting and fine-tuning their final-mile strategies to respond to and accommodate consumers’ ever-changing and higher-maintenance expectations for fast delivery. Consumers today often want rapid, free delivery without errors, with Amazon Prime driving much of their baseline expectations,” the white paper said. “In short, shippers are figuring out that if they want to drive customer loyalty and repeat business, having a top-notch final-mile service offering is worth every penny of additional expense or investment required. Historically, LTL carriers have not been known for their personalized service and final-mile service providers have been able to exploit this fact to grow their market share.”
DSI was founded in 1997 by Dave Thompson. In its first year, it completed 3,938 deliveries for Sit ’N Sleep. Ashley Furniture joined as a customer in 2009 and by 2011, DSI was conducting more than 500,000 deliveries per year. Expansion to Texas, Utah and Colorado followed in 2013, with further growth to the East Coast in 2014.
By 2015, DSI was making more than 1 million deliveries annually. It was acquired by Headhaul and Argosy in 2019.