Lineage Logistics buys European cold chain specialist
The Partner Logistics acquisition is an example of growing demand for specialized refrigerated cargo shipping services.
As regulation of refrigerated goods transport becomes more stringent worldwide, US shippers increasingly look to integrate international and domestic networks to close any potential gaps that could threaten temperature-controlled supply chains.
Third-party logistics providers also are looking to automate warehousing operations to maintain the distribution center velocity as supply chains, especially those involving food and pharmaceuticals, become more complicated.
Those trends spurred Lineage Logistics, one of the largest US temperature-controlled warehousing and logistics companies, to make its first overseas acquisition, Netherlands-based Partner Logistics. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Partner Logistics adds more than 101-million cubic feet of temperature-controlled warehousing capacity, enough room for 500,000 pallets, in Europe to the 609-million cubic feet of storage space in Lineage’s US domestic footprint, the companies said.
Partner operates six fully automated cold-storage warehouses and one conventional warehouse in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK. The technology behind those automated facilities was a big draw for Lineage as it pursues automation.
“The vision of Lineage Logistics is to be the world’s most dynamic temperature-controlled logistics company, and our expansion into Europe is a significant milestone in achieving that goal,” said Adam Forste, managing partner at investment firm Bay Grove.
“This transaction also highlights our commitment to automation as a critical pillar of our growth strategy globally,” Forste said.
Bay Grove has backed Lineage since its founding in 2008 and helped the 3PL expand through more than a dozen acquisitions.
Lineage has spent three years working on an automation strategy. In January, the company announced plans to build an automated extension at its Sunyvale, Texas, warehouse near Dallas-Fort Worth, adding more than 7-million cubic feet of space.
That expansion will add more than 19,000 pallet positions to support fast-moving products, the company said. The automated section will integrate seamlessly with the existing conventional warehouse to provide customers with more flexibility.
“Our customers need state-of-the art cold storage facilities to ensure their product is stored in the safest and most efficient manner possible,” said Greg Lehmkuhl, president and CEO of Lineage Logistics and former president of Con-way Freight.
“We look forward to investing in additional expansions and automation across our nationwide network to ensure we can continue to support our customers’ supply chain initiatives,” Lehmkuhl said in a statement.
Partner’s technology will support that plan.
Lineage said it intends to combine its existing expertise in automation with the intellectual property and best practices of Partner to further reduce product damage, enhance efficiency and improve customer experience throughout its US operations.
Partner is the latest in a long line of acquisitions by Lineage. In addition to acquiring buildings in Phoenix and in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, early this year, Lineage purchased Consolidated Distribution in August 2016 and Columbia Colstor in 2015.
In March, Lineage partnered with BluJay Solutions, formerly Kewill, to manage shipper food and beverage supply chains using BluJay’s transportation management system. The more integrated TMS solution also will enable greater automation.
Contact William B.
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- ^ Consolidated Distribution (lineagelogistics.com)
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