Since he became CEO of XPO Logistics in 2011, investor Bradley S. Jacobs has focused on building the company’s truck brokerage business, acquiring multiple companies and increasing revenue 57 percent in 2012 to $279 million. But he hasn’t forgotten or ignored XPO’s Express-1 division, the fifth-largest expedited trucking company. In the first quarter, Express-1 increased revenue 6.5 percent to $23.9 million after XPO acquired East Coast Air Charter in February and renamed the company XPO Air Charter.
“I love the expedited business,” Jacobs said. “When I go to Buchanan, Mich., I love walking the floor” at Express-1’s headquarters. “It’s like walking into a war room. You’ve got 150 people handling the phones aggressively; there’s a lot of buzz.”
Express-1, which had $94 million in gross revenue in 2012, accounts for about 34 percent of XPO’s business. Freight brokerage, at $125 million, represents about 45 percent. Bradley said he would expand the expedited division as part of his plan to make XPO a multibillion-dollar company. Express-1 “opened a cold start last year in Birmingham, Ala.,” he said. “There are a few acquisitions we’re looking at.”
Expanding expedited through acquisition is “trickier” than growing brokerage in that way, “largely because the expedited model is an owner-operator model,” he said. “You’ve got to make sure they stay with your company after the deal.”