UTi Worldwide has no planes or ships of its own, but it moves freight around the world. The company is a leading provider of air and ocean freight forwarding services. As a freight forwarder, UTi Worldwide buys capacity from air and ocean carriers and resells it to customers. In addition the company offers contract logistics, customs brokerage, and warehousing and distribution services. It maintains facilities in some 60 countries and operates through agents in another 80 countries. UTi Worldwide is domiciled in the British Virgin Islands but run from a network of offices located in different spots around the globe with the main office in Long Beach, California.
After facing a slumping economy and a decrease in the demand for its services in fiscal year 2010 where sales dipped more than 20% compared to 2009, UTi made a rebound in 2011 and saw sales improve by more than 25%. A global increase in consumer spending helped to spur on a 35% increase in the company's airfreight forwarding revenues. A rise in ocean freight volumes translated into an increase in in UTi's ocean freight forwarding operations of nearly $300 million, or 34%.
With the US only accounting for about a quarter of the company's sales, UTi will continue to look to other countries for the source of the majority of its revenues. Geographically speaking, the company saw more than a 50% increase in combined revenues for the China market and a jump of nearly 35% from South Africa.
In early 2009 the company appointed a new CEO to guide it through its restructuring efforts. Eric Kirchner, a former executive at rival UPS Supply Chain Solutions, was named the new leader, replacing Roger MacFarlane, one of the company's original founders.
Kirchner quickly moved to strengthen the company's global operations, making three purchases in 2009. UTi picked up two Israeli logistics firms (Excel MPL and Multi-Purpose Logistics) and a Spanish freight forwarder (Tacisa Transitaria) for a total of about $13 million.