April 16, 2018 / 5:30 PM / 3 months ago

Seko Logistics joins truckers adding assembly service to U.S. home deliveries

April 16 (Reuters) - Large U.S. trucking companies want their delivery people to spend more time in your home.

Seko Logistics, a privately held freight transport and warehousing company with annual revenue of more than $750 million, said on Monday it was rolling out a product assembly service for large and bulky items the company delivers directly to U.S. households.

The service, first reported by Reuters, is part of a growing push by a number of large trucking firms to cash in on rising online purchases for home delivery of products such as furniture, golf simulation machines and medical devices, which require assembly, installation or technical connection work.

Such products are often too unwieldy for the automated package-handling facilities of traditional delivery companies like FedEx Corp or United Parcel Service Inc.

“The interest from retailers, brands and consumers in value-added home delivery services has never been greater,” said Seko Logistics Chief Executive Officer James Gagne.

Gagne has seen the minimum threshold for such deliveries drop over the last two years from around 150 pounds (68.04 kg) to about 100 pounds (45.36 kg).

Seko, which managed roughly 1 million heavy weight home deliveries last year and expects to double that figure by 2020, is not alone in working to expand its “white glove” home delivery services.

Seko competitor XPO Logistics, the largest provider of final-mile deliveries of heavy goods like Best Buy flat-screen televisions and Crate and Barrel furniture in North America, made roughly 13 million such deliveries in 2017 alone. It also handles installation and repair.

Ryder System Inc, known for truck-leasing, bought MXD Group for $120 million earlier this month to expand its presence in final-mile delivery. Last summer, trucker J.B. Hunt said it would buy Special Logistics Dedicated LLC for $136 million.

Home delivery of large products is a fast-growing U.S. retail niche, as consumers get more comfortable with buying bulky items online, but it also involves risks.

For example, a trucking company needs to hire drivers who also have the technical and social skills to go into a customer’s home and install or assemble a variety of products. This is a more complex business model than simply dropping off a pallet at an industrial warehouse.

“It can be managed chaos,” Seko spokesman Brian Bourke said. (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by David Gregorio)

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