Global logistics technology solutions provider Descartes Systems Inc. has acquired the UK’s largest and oldest-established Customs and freight forwarding software company, Impatex. The deal takes effect on December 16th.
Before the sale, Impatex was owned by its founder, Peter Day, who launched the company in 1980 and was joined in the business by his wife Sue in 1982. Today, Impatex provides its iCE (Integrated Customs for Europe) Customs processing system for high-volume users such as Agility, Ceva, Damco, DHL, DSV, Expeditors, Geodis, Hellmann, Kuehne + Nagel, Panalpina, SDV, UPS and UTI. iCE is progressively replacing its well-established Customs Manager predecessor, in use by hundreds of freight forwarders, as well as shipping lines and shippers.
Impatex also continues to develop its unique, browser-based NetFreight forwarding and Customs system, designed for small to mid-size agents, and bought from its inventor Evgeni Pantchev in 2007. NetFreight is now used by over one hundred freight agents in the UK, and a growing number in the USA, Europe and the Middle East. Evgeni will re-join Impatex under its new ownership at the beginning of the New Year.
Explaining his decision to sell Impatex, Peter Day explains: “We have known for a long time that the future of our company lies in international expansion, as more and more customers seek single, uniform solutions that can operate globally.
“Providing a pan-European Customs solution in particular requires the development of a communications link to every EU member state’s Customs system; this would have been a very long and expensive project. The global development of Impatex as an independent would also have required the establishment of a much larger, international support structure, involving additional high costs.
“We received a timely approach from Descartes, who were looking to acquire a UK Customs software company, with Impatex being their preferred choice. Norwegian-based KSD, which was also recently acquired by Descartes, has already developed the necessary links to European Customs, and the integration of this with our own iCE system provides a very effective pan-European Customs solution.
“Descartes also has existing relationships with many of our largest customers, and an impressive international support presence. So, weighing up the various options for the future development of Impatex, we decided that the interests of our customers and staff are best served by the company becoming part of the Descartes organisation. Descartes’ resources and complementary product portfolio will help Impatex to realise its full and considerable potential as a world-leading freight forwarding and Customs software provider.”
Impatex will continue to operate with its current management and staff, and will be based in its present offices near Southampton until further notice. Peter and Sue Day will assist in the transition to Descartes ownership, and are setting up a new company - Freight Network Software Ltd - which will act as a reseller of the NetFreight product to forwarding networks in the UK and USA.