Global freight and parcel business FedEx has announced it has acquired the Dutch based-Australian founded International transport and logistics company TNT Express.

FedEx Corporation and TNT Express have jointly announced FedEx has acquired the business in a $6.8 billion deal which is described by Fedex as ‘one that combines the strengths of the two companies’, one as the the world’s largest air express network and the other as having an unparalleled European road network.

The statement claims the amalgamation will ‘expand the existing FedEx portfolio and reshape the global transportation and logistics industry’.

Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO of FedEx says that the acquisition is a significant accomplishment and marks the beginning of a new era, ‘filled with promise for our people, customers and share-owners’’.

“We are proud to celebrate the joining of two iconic companies and the approximately 400,000 team members who are committed to serving customers around the world,” Smith said.

“The timing of this historic event is important, particularly in the current market environment where global e-commerce is growing at double-digit rates. Adding TNT’s capabilities to our existing world-class suite of services, including GENCO and the recently relaunched FedEx CrossBorder, will further expand the ability of FedEx to support business connections around the world,” he added.

“Over our 43 year history, FedEx has repeatedly reinvented and revolutionised the industry, from the first overnight express service backed by a money-back guarantee to the invention of internet shipping. And just as we revolutionised the U.S. domestic parcel business through the acquisition and development of what is now FedEx Ground, the acquisition of TNT will change the way customers view FedEx around the world,” Smith said.

The joint statement went on to say that now that the integration process will begin immediately.

FedEx says its track record of successful acquisition integrations in the U.S. and globally will serve the combined companies well to leverage investments in technology, infrastructure, facilities and operational capabilities to position the combined companies for long-term growth and success.

In the short term, customers will work with each company as they always have. Without talking about how the new operation will be branded, FedEx says, it expects customers to enjoy an expanded global offering that draws upon the breadth of expertise from both companies.

“We believe that this strategic acquisition will add significant value for FedEx shareowners, team members and customers around the globe, particularly in Europe where we will establish a strong new competitor,” said Alan B. Graf, Jr., FedEx Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

“The TNT team members bring 70 years of diverse experience, which combined with that of FedEx team members, will make this integration a success.”

TNT was established back in 1946 by Australian businessman Ken Thomas. Named Thomas Nationwide Transport, the company has grown into a global enterprise. Today, TNT Express Australia alone employs some 4,500 staff across 50 depots/hubs, operating more 2,600 vehicles across the country.