History of FedEx Operating Companies
Today's FedEx is led by FedEx Corporation, which provides strategic direction and consolidated financial reporting for the operating companies that compete collectively under the FedEx name worldwide: FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, FedEx Office, FedEx Custom Critical, FedEx Trade Networks, FedEx SupplyChain Solutions and FedEx Services.
Originally called FDX Corp., FedEx Corp. was formed in January 1998 with the acquisition of Caliber System Inc. Through this and future purchases, FedEx sought to build on the strength of its famous express delivery service and create a more diversified company that included a portfolio of different but related businesses. Caliber subsidiaries included RPS, a small-package ground service; Roberts Express, an expedited, exclusive-use shipping provider; Viking Freight, a regional, less-than-truckload (LTL) freight carrier serving the Western U.S.; Caribbean Transportation Services, a provider of airfreight forwarding between the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean Islands; and Caliber Logistics and Caliber Technology, providers of integrated logistics and technology solutions. These companies, along with worldwide express shipping provider Federal Express, comprised the original FDX Corp.
Over the next two years FDX Corp. oversaw the assimilation of these companies and introduced them to many trademark service and technology enhancements.
In January 2000, FedEx unleashed the power of its global brand. In a move to further integrate the company's portfolio of services, FDX Corp. was renamed FedEx Corporation. In addition, Federal Express became FedEx Express, RPS became FedEx Ground, Roberts Express became FedEx Custom Critical, and Caliber Logistics and Caliber Technology were combined to make up FedEx Global Logistics. To centralize the sales, marketing, customer service and information technology support for FedEx Express and FedEx Ground, a new subsidiary named FedEx Corporate Services (FedEx Services) was formed and began operations in June 2000.
Over the next year, a number of acquisitions and realignments changed the size and scope of various FedEx operating companies. The first move was a new subsidiary, just one month after the re-branding announcement. In February 2000, FedEx Corp. announced the acquisition of Tower Group International, a leader in the business of international logistics and trade information technology. TowerGroup became the foundation of a new FedEx Corp. subsidiary, FedEx Trade Networks, which in turn acquired WorldTariff, a customs duty and tax information company, a month later. Today, FedEx Trade Networks is the largest-volume customs entry filer in North America and a leader in global ocean & air cargo distribution and trade facilitation. In January 2001 Caribbean Transportation Services became part of FedEx Trade Networks. In February 2001, FedEx Corp. finalized the acquisition of American Freightways, a leading LTL freight carrier serving 40 states in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., and rebranded American Freightways and Viking Freight as FedEx Freight.
FedEx Corp. acquired privately held Kinko's Inc. in February 2004. Two months later, Kinko's was rebranded as FedEx Kinko's (rebranded again as FedEx Office in 2008). For FedEx, the acquisition meant expanded retail access to all of the 1,200 FedEx Kinko's stores in operation at that time, enhanced FedEx document management services and a broader reach to customers of all sizes. For Kinko's, the move added the resources and expertise needed to continue expansion of its corporate document outsourcing business and international operations.
Following the acquisition, all U.S. FedEx Kinko's locations offered new or expanded FedEx shipping options for greater customer convenience.
In September 2004, FedEx Corp. acquired Parcel Direct, a leading parcel consolidator, and later rebranded it FedEx SmartPost. The acquisition complements the FedEx alliance with the U.S. Postal Service and provides customers in the e-commerce and catalog segments with a proven, cost-effective solution for low-weight, less time-sensitive residential shipments.
In 2006, FedEx Corp. acquired ANC Holdings Limited, a United Kingdom domestic express transportation company. This transaction allowed FedEx Express to directly serve the entire UK domestic market. ANC was then rebranded FedEx UK.
In 2007, FedEx Corp. acquired Tianjin Datian W. Group Co., Ltd.'s 50 percent share of the FedEx-DTW International Priority Express joint venture and DTW Group's domestic express network in China. FedEx then launched a domestic express service serving the Chinese market.
More recently, FedEx Corp. has continued its acquisition of international domestic transportation companies with the acquisitions of Indian express companies Prakash Air Freight Pvt. Ltd. (PAFEX) and AFL Pvt. Ltd./Unifreight India Pvt. Ltd. , Hungarian express company Flying-Cargo Hungary Kft, Mexican express company Servicios Nacionales Mupa, S.A. de C.V. (MultiPack), Polish courier Opek Sp.z o.o. (Opek), French express company TATEX and Brazilian transportation and logistics provider Rapidão Cometa.
All the companies obtained through FedEx Corp. acquisitions, in addition to diversifying the FedEx services portfolio, also exhibited the same "absolutely, positively" spirit that FedEx is known for possessing—which made the companies a good fit.
Today, FedEx Corporation is the premier provider of shipping and information services worldwide, and its companies function under the motto of "operate independently, compete collectively and manage collaboratively." By operating independently, each company can focus exclusively on delivering the best service for its specific market. Competing collectively under the trusted FedEx banner ensures that all of the companies benefit from one of the world's most recognized brands.
In 1965, Yale University undergraduate Frederick W. Smith wrote a term paper about the passenger route systems used by most airfreight shippers, which he viewed as economically inadequate. Smith wrote of the need for shippers to have a system designed specifically for airfreight that could accommodate time-sensitive shipments such as medicines, computer parts and electronics.
In August of 1971 following a stint in the military, Smith bought controlling interest in Arkansas Aviation Sales, located in Little Rock, Ark. While operating his new firm, Smith identified the tremendous difficulty in getting packages and other airfreight delivered within one to two days. This dilemma motivated him to do the necessary research for resolving the inefficient distribution system. Thus, the idea for Federal Express was born: a company that revolutionized global business practices and now defines speed and reliability.
Federal Express was so-named due to the patriotic meaning associated with the word "Federal," which suggested an interest in nationwide economic activity. At that time, Smith hoped to obtain a contract with the Federal Reserve Bank and, although the proposal was denied, he believed the name was a particularly good one for attracting public attention and maintaining name recognition.
The company incorporated in June 1971 and officially began operations on April 17, 1973, with the launch of 14 small aircraft from Memphis International Airport. On that night, Federal Express delivered 186 packages to 25 U.S. cities from Rochester, NY, to Miami, Fla.
Company headquarters were moved to Memphis, Tenn., a city selected for its geographical center to the original target market cities for small packages. In addition, the Memphis weather was excellent and rarely caused closures at Memphis International Airport. The airport was also willing to make the necessary improvements for the operation and had additional hangar space readily available.
Though the company did not show a profit until July 1975, it soon became the premier carrier of high-priority goods in the marketplace and the standard setter for the industry it established.
In the mid-1970s, Federal Express took a leading role in lobbying for air cargo deregulation that finally came in 1977. These changes allowed Federal Express to use larger aircraft (such as Boeing 727s and McDonnell-Douglas DC-10s) and spurred the company's rapid growth. Today FedEx Express has the world's largest all-cargo air fleet, including Boeing 777s, 757s and MD-11s and Airbus A-300s and A-310s. The planes have a total daily lift capacity of more than 30 million pounds. In a 24-hour period, the fleet travels nearly 500,000 miles while its couriers log 2.5 million miles a day – the equivalent of 100 trips around the earth.
The company entered its maturing phase in the first half of the 1980s. Federal Express was well established. Competitors were trying to catch up to a company whose growth rate was compounding at about 40 percent annually. In fiscal year 1983 Federal Express reported $1 billion in revenues, making American business history as the first company to reach that financial hallmark inside 10 years of start-up without mergers or acquisitions.
Following the first of several international acquisitions, intercontinental operations began in 1984 with service to Europe and Asia. The following year, FedEx marked its first regularly scheduled flight to Europe. In 1988, the company initiated direct-scheduled cargo service to Japan.
The acquisition of Tiger International, Inc. occurred in February 1989. With the integration of the Flying Tigers network on August 7, 1989, the company became the world's largest full-service, all-cargo airline. Included in the acquisition were routes to 21 countries, a fleet of Boeing 747 and 727 aircraft, facilities throughout the world and Tigers' expertise in international airfreight.
Federal Express obtained authority to serve China through a 1995 acquisition from Evergreen International Airlines. Under this authority, Federal Express became the sole U.S.-based, all-cargo carrier with aviation rights to the world's most populous nation. Since then, the company's global reach has continued to expand, resulting in an unsurpassed worldwide network. FedEx Express today delivers to customers in more than 220 countries and territories.
The first evolution of the company's corporate identity came in 1994 when Federal Express officially adopted "FedEx" as its primary brand, taking a cue from its customers, who frequently referred to the company by the shortened name.
The second evolution came in 2000 when the company was renamed FedEx Express to reflect its position in the overall FedEx Corporation portfolio of services. This also signified the expanding breadth of the FedEx Express-specific service offerings, as well as a FedEx that was no longer just overnight delivery.
In recent years, FedEx Express has greatly increased the connectivity and efficiency of its global network through aircraft fleet upgrades, replacing Boeing 727s with Boeing 757s and replacing many of their MD-11F fleet with wide-body Boeing 777F planes.
Through numerous FedEx Corp. acquisitions, FedEx Express has expanded its global presence, now offering services in more than 220 countries and territories, including domestic express services in 18 countries.
FedEx Trade Networks
FedEx Trade Networks is the global freight forwarding arm of FedEx and is the largest-volume customs entry filer in North America.
FedEx Trade Networks traces its origins to 1913 as customs broker, C.J. Tower & Sons in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Following its purchase by McGraw-Hill, Inc. in 1986, C.J. Tower & Sons became Tower Group International, Inc. Three years later TowerGroup began a series of acquisitions that increased its presence across the U.S. and it emerged as a leader in international logistics and trade information technology.
FedEx Corp. acquired TowerGroup and World Tariff Ltd. to create FedEx Trade Networks in 2000. In 2002, TowerGroup was rebranded as FedEx Trade Networks Transport & Brokerage, Inc. In 2008, the company began an aggressive global expansion opening offices around the globe. The expanded market reach gives FedEx Trade Networks access to 91% of the world’s GDP by providing international air and ocean freight forwarding, customs brokerage, distribution and warehousing, and other value-added services to assist customers with international shipping.
A second subsidiary, called FedEx Trade Networks Trade Services, Inc., was also formed in 2002. This division incorporates the duty and tax data services of WorldTariff® with Trade & Customs Advisory Services (TCAS), which is designed to streamline, automate, and simplify the international shipping process for customers, as well as provide comprehensive trade information. FedEx Trade Networks was the first company to provide a duty and tax application on its website. WorldTariff® provides customers the ability to estimate duties and taxes online by accessing real-time customs duty, tariff and tax information for over 175 countries.
Today, FedEx Trade Networks provides FedEx customers international freight forwarding services with seamless, end-to-end solutions, and is leveraged to access the wide array of services offered by the other members of the FedEx family of companies and their subsidiaries.
FedEx SupplyChain, leveraging the strength of the entire FedEx portfolio of companies, provides solutions for its customers' most critical supply chain needs; from spare parts to emergency deliveries to the integration of returns into the product life cycle. In addition to the management of critical inventory needs, FedEx SupplyChain also provides customers complete order fulfillment and transportation management solutions, backed by visibility, order, and event management technologies that provide peace of mind throughout the entire distribution cycle.
On March 11, 1985, a start-up company called RPS put a label with 33 precisely spaced black lines on the outside of a package, and changed the direction that the small-package industry would travel from that day forward. The precisely spaced black lines were a bar code. And in the hands and minds of the innovative employees of RPS, this emerging technology made it possible not only to track a package’s movement, but also to sort it using automation, to speed it to its destination more efficiently, and to bill it more accurately.
RPS was a division of Roadway Services, which became Caliber System Inc. in 1996. By creating competitive advantages in the form of an independent contractor workforce, flexible pricing, package tracing that provided customers with relevant information about their packages, and many more “firsts,” the company quickly expanded and grew market share. In 1993 RPS exceeded $1 billion in annual revenue, just nine years after its creation, to record the fastest growth of any ground transportation company. By 1996, it offered 100 percent coverage of North America.
RPS was officially rebranded FedEx Ground in January 2000 following the acquisition of the Caliber companies by FDX Corp. in 1998. Later in 2000, the company launched FedEx Home Delivery, a business-to-consumer service designed to help catalog and online retailers meet the needs of the residential market with standard features such as evening and Saturday deliveries.
In September 2004, Parcel Direct became a subsidiary of FedEx Ground after FedEx Corp. acquired the leading parcel consolidator. The service was later rebranded FedEx SmartPost and specializes in the delivery of low-weight packages from business to residential customers through a contract with the U.S. Postal Service®, which provides last mile delivery of the packages.
Today, FedEx Ground is a leader in cost-effective, small-package ground shipping, offering dependable service to businesses and residential customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company includes more than 50,000 employees and a network of more than 520 distribution hubs and local pickup-and-delivery stations. Nearly 9,000 independent businesses contract with FedEx Ground. There are more than 30,000 motorized vehicles that transport approximately 5.6 million packages daily (excluding SmartPost).
Over the last three years, FedEx Ground has improved transit times for more than half of the city-to-city shipping lanes it serves, making it faster to more locations than the competition. And the company continues to invest in new facilities and emerging technologies. The result is the industry’s most automated hub network and continuous improvement in speed, efficiency and reliability.
FedEx Freight is a leading U.S. provider of less-than-truckload (LTL) freight services. FedEx Freight is known for exceptional service, reliability and on-time performance.
In 1966, Viking Freight opened its doors as a courier service within selected areas of California and rapidly grew to be the state's leading intrastate trucking carrier. By 1986, Viking's service area expanded to cover 10 western states, including Alaska and Hawaii.
In 1988, Viking became a subsidiary of Caliber System Inc. Over the next 10 years, Viking solidified its position as the market leader in the West and periodically expanded its reach beyond its western regional territory. In January 1998, Federal Express Corp. acquired Caliber System and created FedEx Corporation, a global provider of transportation, e-commerce and supply chain management services.
Meanwhile, American Freightways (AF) was founded in 1982 in Arkansas. AF quickly became the fastest-growing, independently-owned regional LTL carrier in the nation. In 1989, AF became a publicly-held corporation and by 2001 had developed a wide network of service centers – providing direct coverage to 40 contiguous states in the U.S.
American Freightways was acquired by FedEx Corporation in 2001. By combining Viking and AF, FedEx Corp. created FedEx Freight to offer one-stop shopping for LTL customers who require top-quality, highly reliable freight service.
In 2006, FedEx Corp. acquired Florida-based Watkins Motor Lines, a leading provider of long-haul LTL services. Watkins was rebranded as FedEx LTL and FedEx Freight Canada. In January 2011, FedEx LTL merged with FedEx Freight, and the company launched its two service offerings at all lengths of haul across its U.S. network: FedEx Freight® Priority and FedEx Freight® Economy.
Today, FedEx Freight is an LTL shipping industry leader that serves the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
FedEx Custom Critical
FedEx Custom Critical is a leader in the expedited freight industry. The company is known for exceptional service, customization for individual shipments and 24/7 availability for pickups, deliveries and customer service.
In 1947, FedEx Custom Critical was founded as a pickup-and-delivery trucking company called Roberts Cartage. The company changed its name in 1980 to Roberts Express and became the first carrier to focus solely on customized surface expediting. This new market niche provided exclusive-use, non-stop service that matched vehicle size to the customer's shipment, moving faster and at a lower cost than airfreight.
In 1983, the company received authority to perform services across the United States. The White Glove Services® division was founded in 1988 to handle sensitive and high-value freight. Three years later, Air Expedite® took its inaugural flight.
In 1998, FedEx Corporation acquired the parent company of Roberts Express, Caliber System Inc. Roberts Express became FedEx Custom Critical in 2000, aligned with one of the world's most recognized brands.
FedEx Custom Critical launched Temp-Assure Validated in 2004. This temperature-control service provides thermal-mapped cargo boxes and hard-copy temperature documentation for customers. This was the first service of its kind in the industry for customers regulated by agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration.
The company added FedEx Truckload Brokerage to its portfolio of services in 2008. This provides customers with a truckload brokerage option, while also providing them with the reliability and service they expect when using FedEx.
FedEx Custom Critical continues to be a leader in the expedited industry, providing a full portfolio of ground, air, temperature-control and truckload brokerage shipping options.
FedEx Services began operations in June 2000 to provide information technology, sales and marketing support for FedEx Corp. subsidiaries FedEx Express and FedEx Ground. Subsequently, the same functions for FedEx Freight and FedEx Office were aligned with FedEx Services. Today some 18,000 team members at FedEx Services coordinate sales, marketing, communications, information technology, and customer service support for the global FedEx brand.
FedEx Office and Print Services
In September 1970, Kinko's was founded and opened the doors of its first location in Santa Barbara, Calif. This tiny Kinko's measured only 100 square feet and featured a single copier, offset press, film processing and a small selection of stationery and school supplies. Five years later, there were 24 Kinko's stores. Four years after that, there were 72.
Up to that point, Kinko's had focused purely on retail, small-business and home-business customers with ad hoc sales efforts. It applied minimal use of technology; its stores were uniform in size, and its product offerings were limited. But as its business grew, the Kinko's customer base shifted from mostly academics to a broad range of personal and business customers. In response, the company expanded its services and markets. By the mid-1990s, Kinko's had grown dramatically to more than 800 stores through the formation of S-corporations.
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice invested in Kinko's in 1996. More than 125 separate S-corporations were rolled up into a single C-corporation. The company installed centralized budgeting and financial planning systems, procurement, real estate and information services. Kinko's also started building and investing in its technology infrastructure, including digitally connecting its stores.
Kinko's customer base had continued to evolve and now included mobile professionals and commercial print buyers. The company realized it could not service the needs of these customers or make a meaningful connection using a one-size-fits-all approach. In addition, Kinko's had to find a way to better manage orders and workflow across its network.
FedEx acquired Kinko's in February 2004. Two months later, Kinko's was rebranded as FedEx Kinko's Office and Print Services.
In June 2008, the operating company changed its name to FedEx Office to better reflect its service and product offerings.
Today, there are 1,800 FedEx Office stores and locations primarily in the U.S. and Canada, providing convenient access to printing and shipping expertise with reliable service. The company's network features retail stores, centralized production centers, corporate on-site print centers, and on-site business centers at hotels, convention centers and universities. Services include copying and digital printing, professional finishing, document creation, direct mail, signs and graphics, computer rental, free Wi-Fi and corporate print solutions. In addition, the company offers FedEx Express and FedEx Ground shipping, Hold at FedEx Location, and packing services backed by the FedEx(r) Packing Pledge. InformationWeek 500 recognized FedEx Office(r) Print Online and FedEx Office(r) Print & Go solutions with the 2011 Most Innovative Products award.
FedEx TechConnect (FTC) was established in 2006 as a subsidiary of FedEx Corporate Services, Inc. For millions of customers, FTC is the voice of FedEx. It is a team of more than 4,500 employees all focused on fulfilling the Purple Promise, “I will make every FedEx experience outstanding.”
All FedEx customer service, customer service support and planning and analysis teams are housed within FedEx TechConnect. FTC serves FedEx Freight, FedEx Ground and FedEx Express. FTC teams develop global revenue solutions and ground-breaking technology solutions. Our customer service representatives and support teams provide solutions every day for FedEx customers around the globe.
FTC’s Repair Service Center repairs more than 900 devices per week, including desktop computers, hub scanners, walkie-talkies, printers and much more. This organization saves FedEx money by keeping device repairs in-house and by drawing new repair business to the company.
Updated August 14, 2013