August 26, 2019 9:30 AM, EDT

Descartes Acquires

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Descartes Systems Group has bought another logistics and transportation company.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based logistics and technology company announced it acquired Inc., a cloud-based transportation management system provider focused on flatbed-intensive manufacturers and distributors.

Descartes acquired Columbus, Ohio-based for $11.2 million using its existing line of credit, the company said in an Aug. 21 news release.

Descartes/Best logos has been connecting shippers and carriers to streamline transportation processes for more than 15 years, according to Descartes.

“By combining’s platform with our global logistics network, we can offer additional solutions to the community, such as Descartes MacroPoint Visibility and Capacity Matching,” said Descartes CEO Edward Ryan in a company release.

It was Descartes’ fourth purchase this year, and part of its long-term strategy to grow through acquisition. The strategy helps the company expand quicker into global markets, instead of starting from scratch, said Christopher Jones, Descartes executive vice president of marketing.

“We call it ‘build and buy,’ ” Jones told Transport Topics. “It’s been our strategy for 10 years.”

Since the beginning of the year, Descartes has picked up similar companies scattered across the globe. In June, Descartes bought STEPcom, a business-to-business supply-chain integration network based in Switzerland. In May, it bought CORE Transport Technologies (CORE), a New Zealand electronic transportation network that provides global air carriers and ground handlers with shipment scanning and tracking solutions.

And in February, Descartes acquired the businesses run by the Management Systems Resources Inc. group of companies operating under the names “Visual Compliance.” Visual Compliance provides software and services to automate customs, trade and fiscal compliance processes, with a focus on denied and restricted party screening and export licensing. Visual Compliance is based in Canada and serves more than 2,000 customers with over 67,500 subscribers operating in over 100 countries, according to a Descartes press release.

Descartes itself offers routing, telematics, transportation management, customs and regulatory compliance, global logistics, network services and brokerage.

The company has averaged three acquisitions a year, and has bought 41 companies since 2006, according to Jones.

The strategy is to pick up geographic coverage, a larger product footprint, and a new customer base, Jones said, adding “build and buy” appears to be working.

“We’ve had 14 years of record financial performance,” said Jones.

In its 2018 filings, Descartes reported profits grew by double digits. For the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, the company reported revenue of C$275.2 million, up 16% from $237.4 million from 2017.

The company does business in 60 nations. Its 20,000 customers include Ashley Furniture, UPS and Old Dominion Freight Lines, but also includes small companies that need to ship over the U.S.-Canada border, Jones said.