C.H. Robinson Worldwide Co. took another step to boost its international business unit Friday with the $50 million purchase of a Canadian freight forwarding company.
The Eden Prairie-based transportation and logistics company said it was buying Montreal-based Milgram & Co., its third acquisition since 2012 in global forwarding, the business of arranging shipments of goods through various transportation providers.
Milgram offers customs brokerage, freight forwarding, surface transportation and warehousing services to 3,500 businesses in Canada and had about $124 million in revenue in its fiscal year ended May 31.
"Milgram provides another unique opportunity to strengthen our global forwarding and customs brokerage offerings in Canada," John Wiehoff, chief executive of C.H. Robinson, said in a statement. "We look forward to working with Milgram's customers to offer our full suite of logistics services to help improve their supply chains."
C.H. Robinson said it will incorporate its proprietary technology system, called Navisphere, into Milgram's business. The system allows the company's clients to get quotes, place and track shipments, manage payments, and get data and reports on orders.
The company said it expects the addition of Milgram will have a neutral effect on its 2017 profitability and add to profits next year.
C.H. Robinson bought Chicago-based Phoenix International in 2012 to anchor an expansion in global forwarding. Phoenix had revenue of $800 million and operations in 15 countries at the time.
Last year, global forwarding accounted for $1.6 billion in revenue at C.H. Robinson, or about 12 percent of overall revenue.
The company late last year added APC Logistics of Melbourne, Australia, which has forwarding operations in Australia and New Zealand. C.H. Robinson also opened forwarding offices in Canada, India and China over the last two years. It now has 125 offices in 31 countries.
The company is the largest non-vessel operator — industry jargon to describe firms that arrange shipping without owning ships or vehicles — in the China-to-U. S. market, one of the busiest trade routes in the world.