Forward Air Inc., a provider of time-definite ground transportation and logistics services to the North American airfreight and less-than-truckload industries, said yesterday it acquired Total Quality Inc., which provides temperature-controlled services supporting the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. Greenville, Tenn.-based Forward Air paid $66 million in cash for the Grand Haven, Mich.-based company.
The transaction expands Forward Air's presence in cold-chain logistics, a segment that demands high service levels given the value and perishable nature of the commodities. Total Quality's current management, led by Terry Fewless, its founder and president, will stay on and continue to run the business.
Total Quality, which has been in business since 1992, has been expanding its revenue at a 15-percent annualized clip for the past several years. The company expects that growth to continue for the next few years. It has about $55 million in annual revenue.
Forward Air's niche is providing a less-expensive alternative to air transportation that also offers time-definite delivery commitments. It carries goods that are moving as air freight but are less time-sensitive than the types of shipments provided by so-called integrated carriers like FedEx Corp. and UPS Inc.
Forward Air has terminals on or near airports in 85 U.S. and Canadian cities. Its central sorting facility in Columbus, Ohio, is supported by 11 regional sort centers.