Dave Emerson, Seko Logistics (UK)
Dave Emerson, head of new Seko E-commerce

Seko Logistics is launching an e-commerce business unit to “lean into the integrators’ world” and boost its market in cross-border shipping, global fulfilment, heavyweight last-mile and returns.

It expects to develop the unit into a “multibillion dollar-plus” business by 2025.

“As a lot of the traditional e-commerce market drops down into the mail market, which leans into our commercial model too, we see a significant opportunity to lean into the integrators’ world to earn a share of the 600 million parcels they carry each month into the US, explained Chris Zheng, the new SVP global cross border.

“A lot of brands are questioning if they need to use a full tariff, two-day service. We will give them options best-suited to their business model.”

Seko said the new unit would “reflect the increase in direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands selling via various platforms”.

It has already built integrations into the major e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, and Seko expects to grow fast by working with brands using marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba.

E-commerce accounts for about 40% of Seko’s revenue, and the past year has seen its business double in size as it offered ‘plug and play’ solutions for retailers.

The new unit will be headed by Seko partner David Emerson, previously VP sales-EMEA, while Mr Zheng joins from Air-City, acquired by Seko in 2019, where he was EVP.

Seko has 15 regional e-commerce fulfilment centres in China, Hong Kong, the US, Australia and Europe, having started its e-commerce journey in 2011.

“The impact of Covid has accelerated what was already happening in the global e-commerce market, in terms of rapid year-over-year growth,” said James Gagne, president and CEO. “The launch of Seko E-commerce advances our ability to embrace this demand by bringing all our e-commerce solutions together under one leadership team.

“E-commerce penetration has essentially accelerated five years overnight. We are in a unique position to grow, both organically and through acquisition, by leveraging the measurable advantages of our business model.”

Seko said it would offer clients four core solutions: international e-commerce shipping and delivery; global e-commerce fulfilment; global parcel resale of returns; and heavyweight e-commerce shipping and last-mile.

Mr Emerson said: “For a lot of brands, using integrators to move their products is the ‘easy button’ when they start out, but our model is fundamentally different. Integrator services are essentially built for scale, but scale is not always what clients want. They need speed, reliability, accountability, and support from a partner. Price points are critical too; a $12 dress doesn’t need a $25 delivery cost.”

Mr Emerson added that other forwarders were “jumping on the bandwagon” – but potential customers should look closely at what is actually being offered.

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