December 4, 2017

UPS acquires GTM consultant Sandler & Travis

UPS to combine new acquisition with trade consultancy unit Zone Solutions.

By Ben Ames

Transport and logistics giant UPS Inc. said today it has acquired global trade management (GTM) consultant Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services Inc. (STTAS), marking UPS' second acquisition in a year of a provider of international trade consulting services.

Atlanta-based UPS bought STTAS from its parent company, the Southfield, Mich.-based law firm Sandler, Travis, & Rosenberg P.A., a provider of legal and consulting services for global trade import/export compliance.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. UPS said the acquisition occurred on Nov. 30.

STTAS, which is also based in Southfield, Mich., is a consulting and trade compliance management firm. STTAS will continue to operate from its current offices, use its existing personnel, and serve as a resource to the law firm and its clients, the company said.

Earlier in 2017, UPS acquired Zone Solutions LLC, an Indianapolis-based foreign trade zone (FTZ) consulting firm. UPS said it plans to build on its trade management portfolio by absorbing both STTAS' trade compliance services and Zone Solutions' FTZ managed services and systems implementation. UPS said the units will collaborate to offer duty drawback; regulatory compliance; rules-of-origin determination; harmonized tariff schedule (HS) classification; export control classification; order management; and free trade agreement qualification and verification, among the services that populate the complex trade compliance landscape.

UPS moved on STTAS because "we see a significant market opportunity to provide our customers with a full suite of brokerage services, including trade management and advisory services. Our vision is to become the global broker of choice," Glenn Zaccara, a UPS spokesman, said in an email.

UPS said that combining its suite of services with STTAS' would position it to offer a deeper range of managed services with wider geographical coverage than most providers. The GTM software sector includes such big names as Descartes Systems Group Inc., Amber Road, BluJay Solutions, and Oracle Corp. However, instead of lining up against global trade software vendors, UPS intends to compete against consulting and trade advisory firms such as Ernst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, as well as international law firms like Baker McKenzie, Zaccara said.

"UPS customers tell us they are looking for a full suite of brokerage services, including trade management and advisory services, from a partner that can help them on a global basis," Jim Barber, president of UPS International, said in a statement. "We can now offer a wider portfolio of services [by] combining Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services with our existing UPS Trade Management Services."

STTAS has a strong international presence, with almost 70 percent of its 750 trade professionals working outside the U.S., according to the company. The firm's office locations in Shanghai; Bangalore, India; Aberdeen, Scotland; Warsaw, Poland; Mexico City; Buenos Aires, Antina; and São Paulo will complement UPS Trade Management Services' existing global operations in Hefei, China; Wroclaw, Poland; and Singapore, according to UPS.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

More articles by Ben Ames

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