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Tara Courier buys Airpak

Published:Wednesday | June 10, 2015 | 6:00 AMTameka Gordon
Khary Robinson, owner of Norbrook Package Company.
Steven Laing, managing director of Tara Courier Services.
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Norbrook Package Company has sold its package service, Airpak Express, to Tara Courier Services, four years after buying the operation from its founder.

The sale price was not disclosed.

Tara is buying Airpak's client base along with some assets such as delivery vehicles, but not the company, Tara founder Steven Laing told Wednesday Business.

"We are not buying the company, per se. We are taking over their customer list and whatever vehicles we want," Laing said.

Airpak Express was founded in 1992 by Christopher Read, who sold out to Khary Robinson's Norbrook group in 2011. Since that time, Airpak itself has acquired Speed Couriers and Zippy Couriers to advance its footprint in the courier landscape. The company has a staff of more than 90 and operates a fleet of 40 vehicles with 10 locations nationwide.

Norbrook is also parent for Mailpac, an e-commerce logistics operation catering to online shoppers that was a sister company to Airpak.

Airpak ranked itself second in the courier market after Tara, which, through the deal, will significantly increase its delivery capacity in a bid to keep pace with growing demands, the companies said.

The majority of Airpak's business came from corporate customers with a client base of more than 1,500, Robinson said. Airpak accounted for 10 per cent of the Norbrook business.

"It was a meaningful piece of our Jamaica operations, but not a significant piece of our global investment portfolio," he said.

Under the sale agreement, Airpak's staff and fleet will be utilised by Tara, but the current Airpak locations will be converted to standalone branches of Mailpac Services, the companies said.

Robinson said Norbrook retains the brand and corporate entity beyond the sale.

"We are basically reallocating resources to our US investment initiatives," he said.

Norbrook will continue to operate its other logistics platforms, which include SCS Trucking, Mailpac Services, Norbrook Logistics, its FedEx platform in Florida, and its Norbrook Home Delivery, which was recently renamed Caddiz.

"We believe there is much more to offer Jamaican consumers through technology-driven logistics, and we can now focus on doing that," Robinson noted in a press release on the sale.

For Laing, the deal offers an opportunity to improve his profit margins.

"Margins in the industry have tightened over the past five years due to rising input cost. Accordingly, this combination of platforms will aid in rationalising some of our fixed cost and create greater efficiency in our fleet," he said.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com