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Manitoulin Global Forwarding remains active on M&A trail with acquisition of ACS Logistics

Freight forwarding merger and acquisition (M&A) activity north of a border remains a key focus area for Toronto-based Manitoulin Global Forwarding (MGF), a subsidiary of the Manitoulin Group of Companies, with the company announcing this week it has acquired Montreal-based Associated Cargo Specialists (Canada) Inc. (ACS) Logistics.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This acquisition comes on the heels of previous ones made by MGF, including a May acquisition of Houston-based N/J International and Miami-based Demark Global Logistics earlier this month. MGF officials said that these deals exemplify the company’s commitment to growing its North American service coverage for shippers, adding that with the acquisition of ACS it is now one of the Canada’s largest international freight forwarders.

Established in 1986, ACS serves global shippers through its 100-plus network of agents located throughout the world. MGS said that other ACS services include offers shipping agency services and specializes in moving refrigerated cargo, and renewables, most frequently to Africa, South America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The company is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with additional offices in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in Toronto, Ontario.

“We extend a warm welcome to ACS Logistics,” said Dwayne Hihn, president, MGF, in a statement.  “This acquisition marks a major milestone for MGF, however, our goal is not just to be the biggest international freight forwarder in Canada, but to be the most reliable global shipping partner to our customers.  This acquisition strengthens our ability to service different vertical markets across the globe.”

In an interview with LM, Hihn said there were a few factors that made ACS Logistics an attractive acquisition target.

“We look for best-in-class companies that create value to the MGF and Manitoulin Group of Companies through adding services or geographical markets that we do not service,” he noted. “ACS checks those boxes. In addition, they have a superior management team that will stay onboard.” 

As for the benefits of bringing ACS Logistics into the fold for MGF’s shipper customers, Hihn pointed to how ACS provides MGF with the additional geographical footprint in Halifax, and provides it access to other vertical markets such as Renewable Energy and Recyclables market, which can be tied up with other related markets across MGF’s global footprint.

While MGF already has a strong Montreal-based general freight forwarding team, Hihn explained that ACS is a market leader in the reefer and renewable energy space along with its geographical scope in Halifax.  

“They are a market leader in reefer/food exports, pulp and paper, which is strategically important to our Group,” said Hihn. “ACS customers are now able to access global supply chain services from one entity and we have coverage in 220 countries and territories. In addition, MGF’s sister company, Manitoulin Transport, provides reliable ground transportation within North America, thanks to an extensive network of more than 80 Canadian Manitoulin terminals and 200 US service centers. Our infrastructure empowers us to provide the most direct shipping coverage in Canada.”

When asked if MGF will remain on the M&A trail in 2020, Hihn said MGF will continue to evaluate opportunities to expand its presence either geographic or through offering new services to its customers.  

ACS President Dan Gleeson said in a statement that ACS has worked hard for more than 30 years to establish itself as one of Canada’s most reliable international transport companies.

“We are known in the industry for reliably handling the most complex and demanding shipping challenges,” said Gleeson. “We have seen that Manitoulin shares our values and are confident our many loyal customers will continue to experience an exemplary standard of service with MGF.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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