Satu Dahl looks at some recent acquisitions and joint ventures in the freight forwarding sector and explores new solutions that bring increased efficiency to the industry

    Freight forwarders around the world are making big moves to gain a  bigger share of the global market. Seko Logistics is one of the players in the market aiming for another year of significant growth as it continues to acquire assets to support expanding operations. The company recently completed its largest-ever acquisition to date with the purchase of New York-based freight forwarder and cross-border e-commerce company Air-City.

    Air-City holds a certificate of approval for the establishment of enterprises in China, and was among the first group of freight agents authorised by the Chinese Government in 1994. Seko president and CEO James Gagne says Air-City will give the company “immediate depth” in the growing westbound air freight and cross-border e-commerce trade for goods going to China.

    Volga Dnepr

    As Gagne notes: “Air-City gives us strategic air freight volumes and expertise into China as the rising demand for US goods increases, along with a growing middle class in China. We have also added strength to our US import services with the all-important Section 321 and Type 86 entries for e-commerce capabilities that are so critical for cross-border e-commerce into the United States, as well as a network of bonded warehouses in the US.”

    The company has further expansion plans for its operations at JFK. The Air‑City acquisition builds the capabilities of Seko’s New York gateway by adding key facility infrastructure in the tight real estate market near JFK International Airport.

    Expansion in the Windy City

    Seko has also tripled the size of the company’s Chicago hub following its acquisition of GoodShip International, a Chicago-based customs broker and freight forwarder. This followed the purchase of a majority shareholding in Seko partner Omni-Channel Logistics. The new Seko Chicago facility will be a cross-border e-commerce parcel processing hub for its growing international, domestic and returns parcel solutions.

    The new Chicago facility is 9,569m² in size and combines 17 dock and ramp doors, plus a five-high pallet racking storage system. The hub is CTPAT and Indirect Air Carrier-certified, and will include both a clean room for medical devices and a temperature control section to enhance the company’s white glove and omni-channel logistics capabilities. The facility houses all of Seko’s contract logistics, air and ocean freight forwarding and cross-dock operations, white glove and value-added forwarding services, alongside the customs brokerage and compliance capabilities expertise.

    In news related to Seko’s growth strategy, at the end of January the company announced it had promoted Brian Bourke to the new post of chief growth officer, responsible for accelerating Seko’s organic growth, driving demand generation, revenue management and corporate marketing and communications initiatives.

    Global goals

    Dimerco is another freight company taking a bigger share of the global market. The Taipei-based company announced a joint venture in January with 25% investment in the newly founded ITG Air & Sea, a German subsidiary of Swedish public company Elanders Group. ITG Air & Sea is a spin-off of ITG GmbH Internationale Spedition + Logistik (ITG) and its parent company is Logistics Group International (LGI). Dimerco says strategic investment will strengthen mutual cooperation as well as expand business by leveraging Germany-based LGI and ITG and Sweden-based Elanders’ logistics capabilities to boost its global presence.

    Big data

    Dimerco has restructured its business intelligence technology division and now focuses on the development and application of the company’s own ‘value plus’ system. The company says the system operates on the Web 3.0 cloud network and offers the mobility to operate and service customers in any location and at any time when an internet connection is accessible. Dimerco is currently repositioning the company as a mobile intelligence logistics service provider using AI technology, application of big data and semi-automation technology in the Internet+ environment.

    Asian expansion

    Kuehne + Nagel is building its presence all over Asia and made a decision in January to combine its two Asian organisations into one strong region. The logistics provider’s new Asia Pacific region now has around 10,000 employees, with its headquarters based in Singapore.

    Dr Joerg Wolle, chairman of the board of directors at Kuehne + Nagel, says the company has shown great success all over the Asia-Pacific region in the recent years and built up a strong position in the region: “We strongly believe that Asia-Pacific will be the driver of the global economic development in years to come.”

    Kuehne + Nagel also recently acquired Rotra’s overland and logistics activities. Rotra, which operates a fleet of more than 200 trucks, provides Europe-wide overland transportation and contract logistics services for Dutch, Belgian and international customers and manages cross-dock facilities in the Netherlands and Belgium. The company says this acquisition was a strategic step for the company in the expansion of its European overland network following the recent takeover of the Jöbstl Group in Austria. Rotra’s sea freight, airfreight and container terminal activities remained with the current owners.