Thursday, May 4, 2017

Swiss Freight Forwarder Expands Global Reach with Danish and Kenyan Purchases

Further Expansion into Specialist Logistics Markets
Shipping News Feature
SWITZERLAND – DENMARK – KENYA – Swiss logistics company Panalpina has this week announced that they have continued their global expansion plans with the acquisition of two freight forwarders in very different parts of the world so as to improve their service and tap more heavily into more specialist logistics markets.

In Denmark, Panalpina has acquired Danish freight forwarding and logistics, Carelog. The company boasts a strong foothold in the ocean freight industry, with roots in the western part of Denmark. Stefan Karlen, Panalpina’s CEO, said:

“We want to increase our market share in Denmark. The country has many export-oriented companies and its biggest industries, namely manufacturing, consumer, retail, fashion as well as healthcare, are industries that we focus on and serve globally.”

Founded in 2008, Carelog started out with customers in the furniture and fashion industry and then expanded to other sectors such as machinery and agriculture. While Carelog has concentrated on ocean freight, Panalpina is traditionally strong in air freight and thus the two are seen to complement each other. The merged company employs approximately 70 people that provide ocean freight, air freight and logistics services from six locations in all regions of Denmark including in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense. Lars Engbo, Managing Director of Carelog, commented:

“Carelog has a very healthy customer base while Panalpina has the global network and profound industry expertise that will together allow us to service international companies optimally. We are proud to become part of a larger family and reputable brand. And although we may merge with a global player we will always be conscious of our roots and stay flexible for and committed to our existing local customers.” Engbo, who was one of the founders of Carelog, has been appointed as Managing Director of the new company that operates under the name of Panalpina Carelog.

Meanwhile in Kenya, Panalpina is to acquire Air Connection, a Kenya-based forwarder specialising in the export of flowers and vegetables from the East African country to multiple destinations including the Netherlands and the UK, and is currently the country’s fourth largest forwarder in terms of air freight export volumes. The merged company will handle around 70,000 tonnes of perishables air freight per year.

The move comes after Panalpina’s acquisition of Airflo in Kenya in 2016 and only two weeks after the company formally announced the launch of its global Perishables Network. Manjit Brar, Owner and Managing Director of Air Connection said:

“While most of Panalpina’s flower exports from Kenya currently go to auctions in Amsterdam, we are specialised in direct shipments to customers, and while Panalpina is strong with big charter shipments from Kenya to Europe, our strength lies in smaller shipments on scheduled passenger flights to over 150 destinations worldwide.”

Direct shipments are a trend in the perishable market, explains Conrad Archer, Managing Director of Panalpina Airflo:

“Increasingly, buyers of perishables want to source directly from the producer and producers want to sell directly to the country of consumption. Direct shipping bypasses intermediaries, reducing touch points in the supply chain. It removes unnecessary costs, potential delays and most importantly allows a fresher product to be offered to the consumer. At the same time, this development will make sophisticated end-to-end solutions even more important than today. Joining forces with Air Connection will offer additional opportunities to grow the perishables business in Kenya, especially with the export of vegetables, herbs and cuttings.”

The merged company will employ over 350 staff in Nairobi and offer 3,000 m2 of cold storage capacity, which is soon to be extended even further to 4,000 m2. It will also run an office at the port of Mombasa where Panalpina plans to develop the ocean freight business for both perishables (using reefers) and dry cargo. The dry cargo activities involve the import of textiles and export of fashion products, mainly to the US. Manjit Brar, who founded Air Connection in 1993, will remain as a consultant.