Purolator International, the U.S. freight forwarding arm of Canadian parcel delivery and logistics company Purolator Inc., said today it has launched a time-definite freight forwarding service for domestic U.S. shipments in the first step of what its president said would be an expansion of its U.S. product line in 2017.
Jericho, N.Y.-based Purolator International said it would offer next-day, two-day, and 3-to-5-day deliveries using a broad range of air and ground hubs. The move represents the biggest North American expansion for Purolator International since 2010, when it launched an overnight delivery service from the U.S. to Canada. The unit was formed in 1998 to focus on northbound transport services. Purolator International operates 29 U.S. offices.
In a statement, Purolator International President John T. Costanzo said he is committed to "expanding our domestic expedited forwarding service to truly become a single-source provider for retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors across the United States." Costanzo was traveling Wednesday and unavailable to comment further.
The traditional domestic U.S. freight forwarding model had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, when most U.S. passenger airlines operated all-cargo aircraft and the U.S. transportation market skewed toward long-haul services that required the use of air transport. Over the decades, however, the segment declined in relevance as U.S. airlines shuttered their domestic air cargo operations, and more shipper traffic went directly to so-called integrated carriers like FedEx Corp., UPS Inc., and the former Airborne Express, which was acquired by German logistics giant DHL in 2002.
The sharp growth of e-commerce deliveries may herald a renaissance of sorts for the domestic forwarding model. Last October, two investment firms acquired a controlling stake in Media, Pa.-based Pilot Freight Services, the largest U.S. freight forwarding company. Pilot handles a large amount of e-commerce.
The Purolator name has a more than 50-year history in freight transport and logistics. The original Purolator Courier was formed as Trans Canada Couriers Ltd. before being acquired in 1967 by Purolator, a U.S.-based air and oil filter maker. Purolator Courier disappeared in 1989 after the old Consolidated Freightways Inc. bought airfreight carrier Emery Worldwide, which itself had acquired Purolator two years before. On the day of Purolator Courier's sale to Emery, Purolator's Canadian operation was spun off to a Canadian private equity firm. In the early 1990s, the Canadian operation was sold to Canada Post, which today controls about 91 percent of the total company.
Purolator Inc. is based in Mississauga, Ontario.