When Peter Rose, the man who built up Expeditors (EXPD) from scratch, retired in 2014, the Seattle-based group he co-founded and led for over three decades was in great shape financially, but also a rock-solid business lagging on the stock market.

What has changed since those days – barring greater tax benefits lately and operational efficiency – has a lot to do with EXPD’s light portfolio of assets and services, which determined its fortunes in the capital markets in the years that ...

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