Business & Investment

Long controversial, now cooking LaserShip rides the wave of parcel delivery

For the local parcel delivery company, LaserShip Inc., this was a long and somewhat strange journey.

LaserShip was founded in 1986 as a document distribution company. The dot-com boom in the late 1990s eventually pushed concerns based in Vienna, Virginia into the world of courier. Since then, he has made an impressive geographical footprint as a self-proclaimed regional career.

The private LaserShip ground delivery network spans 23 eastern and Midwestern states and the District of Columbia. It operates 54 distribution centers and 4 sorting centers. LaserShip covered the east coast from Maine to Miami, servicing markets as western as Indianapolis, and delivering seven days a week long before it became mainstream. Its target market is estimated to be approximately 107 million American consumers. It is exclusively a business-to-consumer (B2C) provider and typically delivers in one to two days. We do not use air cargo. According to consultancy SJ Consulting Group, revenue in 2020 was $ 715 million.

At the end of last month, LaserShip added Tennessee to its network, serving Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville. The Tennessee service will increase the overall range of LaserShip delivery by 18%, the company said.

After COVID-19, regional parcel delivery companies like Lasership are in great demand as retailers flooded with e-commerce orders are looking for delivery capacity wherever they can be found. According to LaserShip Chief Commercial Officer Josh Dinneen, LaserShip’s customer base grew 400% over the same period in 2020. Growth is due to companies that have been onboarded so far this year, Dineen said.

In a recent telephone interview, Dineen revolved around 2021 shippers aiming for “deleverage” from state-owned airlines FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) and UPS Inc. (NYSE: UPS). He said he was doing it. According to Dinneen, FedEx and UPS shippers are tired of paying higher or extra charges with inconsistent services and capacity limits and are looking for long-term alternatives. .. In contrast, last year’s story focused on an unprecedented surge in demand for LaserShip and others who had “raised water levels.”

Local carriers stopped accepting new businesses in 2020 from late summer to early autumn as they felt that service to existing customers would be compromised during the peak season of the holiday season. According to Dinneen, retailers began sending holiday forecasts to LaserShip in April. This is the earliest time ever.

According to Dinneen, local carriers are increasing capacity, but availability remains tight as e-commerce relentlessly gains retail share. The imbalance between supply and demand is “not a problem in 2021,” he said. “This is a permanent shift.”

According to Dineen, LaserShip continues to be active in geographic expansion. Eventually it will be held in Chicago, and in Texas “it’s in a very difficult situation,” he said. The airline also deepens its coverage in the states where it already exists, he said.

Good and bad

However, LaserShip’s growth trajectory was not without holes. Over the last three years, 547 complaints against the company have been filed with the Better Business Bureau. Many of the complaints were detailed and in some cases explicit.

According to various published reports, LaserShip has been involved in legal and regulatory disputes for the past seven years. In 2014, the company reached a $ 800,000 settlement with a Massachusetts driver. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor ordered drivers in New Jersey, alleged victims of worker misclassification, to pay approximately $ 600,000.

In September 2014, Racketeer reached a $ 5 million settlement with the City of New York on suspicion of delivering more than 120,000 carton tax-exempt cigarettes between 2011 and 2013. LaserShip broke federal and state law, leading to a loss of nearly $ 2 million in uncollected taxes.

An article in New York Magazine in September 2017 headlined LaserShip as “Maybe the Most Disliked Company on the Internet,” and received a bunch of customer complaints. In this article, we referred to LaserShip as a symbol of the “emerging parasite” to take advantage of the fast-growing, low-cost parcel delivery needs of (NASDAQ: AMZN) at the time.

Since then, Amazon has made great strides in building its own delivery network. Amazon, which has long used LaserShip for same-day delivery services, continues to be a partner. LaserShip has never publicly commented on this story. Dinneen said he hired Brent Bissell, a former CEO of third-party logistics giant Ceva Logistics, as CEO in February 2020, but did not respond to the impact of an article in New York Magazine.

According to two parcel experts, LaserShip has won innocence in the market. “I have limited experience with LaserShip, but it was great,” said Rob Martinez, founder and co-CEO of parcel consulting firm Shipware LLC. “We received excellent prices from some very large shippers. The service was good, I’ve heard.” Martinez’s only complaint was a mass flood of pandemics. This forced LaserShip to be more careful when adding accounts. As a result, he said he didn’t participate in as many shipwear parcel bids as Martinez wanted.

Another expert, an executive of a carrier in another region who asked for anonymity, said that the two companies serve essentially the same or different customers, but their package delivery profiles are similar. Said. LaserShip may be sought after for its capacity, but if it doesn’t work well, it’s likely that these demanding shippers will not be able to sustain their business, executives say.

From a promotional point of view, LaserShip is unknown to radar. In May, it was sold to private equity firm American Securities by PE companion Greenbriar Equity Group LP. This transaction has been owned since 2018. FreightWaves reported that the news was only disseminated within an intimate group of financial firms. At the time of this writing, the American Securities website had no announcement about the deal, but listed LaserShip as one of its assets. Greenbriar continues to activate LaserShip on its website. Listed as an asset.

LaserShip made no comments other than confirming that the owner of the company has changed. An American Securities spokeswoman and a Green Briar spokeswoman declined to request comment.

Long controversial, now cooking LaserShip rides the wave of parcel delivery Long controversial, now cooking LaserShip rides the wave of parcel delivery

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