Canada Post sells cross-border ecommerce platform to US firm

Canada Post has sold its cross-border e-commerce support service Borderfree to US company FiftyOne, Inc. The service was set up in 1999, becoming part of Canada Post in 2002, specialising in helping US retailers to sell to Canadian consumers via online websites, providing an all-in “landed in Canada” price for purchases that included duty fees and delivery costs.

It also offered US ecommerce retailers a return service for their sales to Canadians.

Among the users of the platform were retailers like Eddie Bauer, The Shopping Channel, Sephora and Miles Kimball.

FedEx Smartpost has also used the platform to provide a seamless border crossing for its US customers sending parcels to 14m Canadian residential addresses.

Canada Post said today that it decided to sell the business to focus on core activities.

Spokesperson Anick Losier told Post&Parcel: “We made the strategic decision to sell Borderfree because we believe it will enable us to focus on sustaining and growing our core business – and that’s providing outstanding delivery, logistics and communications services via physical and digital delivery channels.”

“Deep expertise”

New York-based FiftyOne, Inc., provides global ecommerce support for about 120 US retailers to reach consumers in 106 countries, dealing in 41 different currencies. It was also founded in 1999, entering the market at the time under the name E4X, and now claims to connect retailers to 1.5bn consumers around the world.

The US company said today that buying Borderfree would mean combining the technology platforms and expertise of two market leaders, as well as gaining “deep expertise” in the Canadian market.

Michael DeSimone, the FiftyOne chief executive, said the deal would provide more insight and resources to support retailers’ transactions with Canadian consumers.

“Borderfree is one of the pioneers in cross-border ecommerce, and we are excited to leverage its platform and resources to continue providing the best possible service for our merchants,” said DeSimone.

Among FiftyOne’s existing partners supporting its global service at the moment is logistics giant DHL and mail technology firm Pitney Bowes, which provides cost estimation, customs preparation and tracking systems via its ClearPath Commerce solutions.

Logistics Refocus

FiftyOne said it has opened an office in Borderfree’s home city of Toronto to house the team following the acquisition.

One of the team’s first jobs will be to integrate the operations of FiftyOne and Borderfree regarding Canadian parcel entry, within a new upgraded logistics system.

“This transaction is only the start of our newly expanded relationship with Canada Post. Over the coming months, we will be rolling out a new Canadian logistics platform truly optimized to the needs and wants of Canadians shopping online. Faster, cheaper, with more choices,” said DeSimone.

A spokesperson said that FiftyOne would continue to be working closely with Canada Post for the delivery side of its services into Canada, and that in the upgraded logistics programme it would be using Canada Post in an expanded capacity overall.

The spokesperson could not say how long the new logistics programme would take to formulate, but said in the meantime: “All of the retailers that were using the Borderfree service, that service will continue so that there is no interruption at all to their business.”

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