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Emery Express and Consolidated Freight; an end of an era

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Emery Express and Consolidated Freight; an end of an era

What many may not realize is that Emery Express was also a CF Company. You see John C. Emery, Sr. founded Emery Air Freight in 1946, when his company became the first air freight forwarder to apply for a common carrier license from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). While Emery envisioned his company working in partnership with scheduled airlines, the airlines considered freight forwarders as competitors and fought his license application until 1948, at which time the CAB granted Emery a license as a common air freight carrier. His plan worked. During that time, the company operated out of a New York office with a fleet of vehicles that consisted of two Ford station wagons. Since those beginnings a half-century ago, Emery has grown into a $2.9-billion global air, ocean, customs brokerage and logistics services company.

By 1956, Emery Air Freight had expanded overseas with its first international office in London and had inaugurated transatlantic service. The company moved to the cutting edge of technology in 1969 with a computerized tracking and tracing system called EMCON, short for Emery Control. John Emery died that same year and his son, John Emery, Jr., assumed leadership of the company. The fuel crisis of the early 1970’s prompted the company to lease its own aircraft and launch the “Emery Air Force” in 1976. Emery now offered closed-loop control of shipments from pickup to delivery, with Emery trucks and aircraft overseeing every step of the transportation process. In a bid for expansion into the small package and letter market, the company acquired Purolator Courier in 1987. The acquisition proved disastrous and Emery struggled until Consolidated Freightways, Inc. purchased the company and merged it with CF Airfreight, CFI Inc.’s existing air cargo company. That was when CF became the parent of Emery. Over the next two years, from 1989 to 1991, the new Emery, now known as Emery Forwarding, struggled financially as did the original company in its last several years of existence. In response, CFI Inc. implemented management restructuring and marketing plans that helped launch Emery to its position as a market share leader in the heavyweight, business-to-business airfreight industry. By early 1992, the new marketing and operations plan had started to turn the company around. Customer confidence increased, as evidenced by the award of several major “primary carrier” contracts from such companies as General Motors. In September of that year, Emery reported its first monthly profit since its acquisition by CFI Inc. Emery completed its financial turnaround in 1993, earning its first annual profit for Emery under any management since 1986. That same year, the company won a 10-year, $1-billion operations contract from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to operate its Express Mail air transportation system. They lost that contract due to non-performance and then Fed Ex picked up that volume. However once back on good financial footing, Emery tried to position itself into a “one-stop” transportation and logistics provider. Thus it was happy to have the support of CF.

The Company introduced its logistics subsidiary in 1992 and strengthened its ocean services and customs brokerage divisions, both of which Emery had owned since 1976. The company also committed more than $75 million for information technology upgrades to meet customer needs beyond the year 2000. Emery’s parent company, Consolidated Freightways, Inc., restructured itself toward the end of 1996 with the spin-off of its national long-haul motor carrier unit. The parent company was renamed CNF Inc. and consisted of Emery, Con-Way Transportation Services and Menlo Logistics. Con Way was the Non-Union part of CF.

In December 2001, Emery was combined with the former Menlo Logistics and Vector SCM. As part of the Menlo Worldwide group of integrated service providers, Emery Forwarding now looks forward to working with our customers in new directions to design an even greater range of supply chain solutions than ever before. Menlo Worldwide is the acknowledged industry leader in global 3PL solutions, and launched the first successful 4PL program. I know this sounds very official however realize that this is the project of the Bell Labs Think Tank and is partly improvised from the theory of Net-Centric Warfare with a slice of Fred smiths, Hub System thoughts, implementing every type of known transportation to deliver the packages and shipments. Emery Forwarding, part of the Menlo Worldwide group of integrated business solution providers, offers international air and ocean forwarding, North American overnight, expedited, second-day and deferred air freight, customs brokerage and project management services. Menlo Worldwide, based in Redwood City, Calif., is a $2.9 billion company with 12,000 employees and global supply chain services in more than 200 countries. Menlo Worldwide was formed in December 2001.

Few realize the connection between Emery and Consolidated Freight, but those who do realize that more was lost when CF filed bankruptcy as there were synergies in the entire logistic chain spanning nearly 7 and a half decades.

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