Behind the Coyote Logistics merger: 'the company with the most scale wins'

March 25, 2014


Chicago-based Coyote Logistics announced a merger last week with Chattanooga-based Access America Transport (AAT). Both Coyote and AAT have provided non asset-based, third-party logistics services since 2006 and 2002, respectively. The marriage between these two companies is quite a large one, putting Coyote in the number two position in the freight brokerage industry, only behind C.H. Robinson.

"Coyote had always been aware of Access America Transport," said Chris Pickett, Chief Strategy Officer at Coyote, and executive members from both companies had attended several of the same conferences and run into several of the same industry partners over the past several years.

AAT and Coyote each performed well alone, but at one point about a year ago they started enteraining the idea of "what would it look like if they were all part of one company." Pickett said.

"Much of the merger conversations started about a year ago because of how the freight brokerage marketplace has been changing," Pickett said. "We saw the North American market consolidating, larger companies continuing to grow faster as the smaller ones continue to struggle. In a business where more trucks and coverage across North America means reduced costs and cheaper pricing for our partners, the company with the most scale wins."

Coyote currently employs 1,400 people across their eight offices, 1,000 of which work in the Chicago HQ. There are plans to hire 250 more in Chicago by the end of 2014. AAT currently has approximately 500 employees with nine office locations across North America. The organizational processes, technologies and cultures will all be combining to form a more powerful partner solution that will likely take until the end of the year before it is streamlined.

For now, Pickett said Coyote employees are staying put in their Chicago home, focusing on the same goals they set out for this year before the merger -- keeping on steady pace to grow 30 percent year-over-year and trying to be the best third-party logistics partners they possibly can.

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