As US wars grind down, Pilot Freight seeks new cargoes

Pilot Freight Services, a family-owned air freight forwarding and logistics service based in Lima, Delaware County, said sales totalled $491 million last year, up 16% over 2010. Fourth-quarter sales topped $141 million, up around 10% from the year before.

That includes a nearly two-thirds jump in U.S. Government revenues during the year. Pilot shipped a lot of military support material - food and personnel supplies - to Iraq and Afghanistan, says chief executive officer Richard Phillips. With US forces mostly out of Iraq, growth has slowed, though stepped-up US fighting in Afghanistan has boosted short-run sales, especially since Afghanistan is a more difficult place to supply, given the anti-US positions of its neighbors Pakistan and Iran, and the relatively primative infrastructure inside the war-ravaged country.

Phillips says the company plans new offices and logistics centers in Europe and Latin America. The company employs around 2,000 worldwide, including 200 at its headquarters west of Media.