Kuehne+Nagel announces acquisition of Apex International Corporation

Bremen, Germany-based global third-party logistics (3PL) services provider Kuehne+Nagel (K+N) said this week it has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Shanghai, China-based freight forwarder Apex International Corporation, in what it said is the biggest acquisition in the company’s history.

Financial terms were not disclosed. K+N officials said that this acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.

Established in 2001, Apex has a major presence as one of the leading freight forwarders in Asia, with a major focus in the Transpacific and intra-Asia regions. The company has roughly 1,600 employees and generates annual revenues topping $2.1 billion Swiss francs, or $2.34 billion USD, according to K+N. And in 2020, Apex handled total air freight volume of around 750,000 tons and 190,000 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) in sea freight volume.

“The combination of Apex and Kuehne+Nagel provides us with an opportunity to offer our customers a compelling proposition in the competitive Asian logistics industry, especially in e-commerce fulfilment, hi-tech and e-mobility,” said Dr. Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, in a statement. “We are looking forward to welcoming the Apex colleagues to the Kuehne+Nagel family.”

And Apex Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO Tony Song added that with Apex joining K+N, this transaction will add value to the company’s customers’ supply chains and also expand its global logistics network.

A Reuters report noted that this transaction comes amid consolidation in the sector in Asia, especially China, sparked by an e-commerce boom during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also noted that Apex remains focused predominantly on the Asian nation, giving Kuehne & Nagel the local relationships it has sought there.

Ben Gordon, Managing Partner of Cambridge Capital, an investor in niche supply chain leaders and also Managing Partner of BGSA Holdings, a leading mergers and acquisitions advisory firm focused on the transportation, logistics, and supply chain technology sectors, observed that K+N has a long history of successful acquisitions, noting that 20 years ago, K+N bought USCO Logistics in what was the largest deal they had done at the time.

“That deal was for $400M,” said Gordon. “Apex is a much larger deal, and at $1.5 billion, represents the largest acquisition K+N has ever done to date. It enables K+N to expand in Asia, which will increase from 10% to 18% of its revenue. In addition, it signals the growing consolidation in global logistics.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman