February 2, 2018 1:45 PM, EST

Descartes Acquires Aljex to Broaden Freight Broker Capabilities

Descartes Systems Group has acquired Aljex Software Inc. for $32.4 million, a move that expands the Waterloo, Ontario-based tech company’s services for freight brokers and carriers and signals a continuation of the firm’s aggressive acquisition strategy.

Ryan (left) and Heine

Descartes has completed 38 acquisitions since 2006, including four in the past 13 months.

Aljex, based in Somerville, N.J., provides a transportation management system used by nearly 400 customers to process nearly 3 million freight moves per year.

“Descartes has worked with Aljex for a number of years to provide end-to-end solutions for the freight broker community,” Descartes CEO Edward Ryan said. “We now have an opportunity to fully integrate Aljex into the Descartes Global Logistics Network. In doing so, we can provide customers with improved access to track shipments and the ability to better utilize increasingly scarce carrier capacity.”

In August, Descartes acquired freight-tracking firm MacroPoint for cash and stock valued at $107 million. MacroPoint uses data from drivers’ cellphones and electronic logging devices to track the movement of freight.

Other recent deals by Descartes include the purchase of assets of PCS Technologies, a company that helps firms track packages, in June; ShipRush, a provider of parcel shipping software, in May, and Datamyne, a Miami-based company that provides global trade data, in December 2016.

The logistics and supply markets remain fragmented and are “ripe for consolidation,” according to an investor presentation by Descartes executives in November.

The company’s goal is to create the world’s largest multimodal, neutral logistics network that can be used to research and plan, execute and monitor and analyze and improve cargo shipping activities. Descartes officials estimate the global logistics market to be valued at $4 trillion a year.

“Managing the capacity on trucks profitably while meeting increasingly high customer delivery expectations is a complex task,” Aljex CEO Tom Heine said. “Aljex helps solve the unique problems faced by freight brokers and transportation providers in this demanding environment.”

A spokewoman for Descartes said Heine and his team will stay on and the company will retain the Aljex brand as part of its business going forward.