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A snapshot of the world’s 10 largest Freight Forwarders

Posted on: January 9th, 2012




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Sinotrans Limited
(6,944,000 ocean TEUs)

Sinotrans derives 81 per cent of its revenues from freight forwarding. Sinotrans handles 6.9 million TEUs, 384,100 tons of airfreight and 21 million express packages per year. Sinotrans Limited was incorporated in the People’s Republic of China in 2002 with China National Foreign Trade Transportation Corporation (“Sinotrans Group Company”) as its controlling shareholder. The company was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2003. Sinotrans Limited’s core services are freight forwarding, express services, shipping agency services and support services include storage and terminal services, trucking and marine transportation. It has approximately 21,000 employees.

Kuehne + Nagel
(2,945,000 ocean TEUs)

Kuehne + Nagel is the second-largest ocean freight forwarding operation, handling over 2.9 million containers per year. It is also the fifth-largest airfreight forwarder. Industry breakdowns for its contract logistics operations are as follows: retail 35 per cent, healthcare 22 per cent, technological/telecom 18 per cent, chemicals 7 per cent, automotive 6 per cent, fulfillment 5 per cent, misc. 5 per cent and services 2 per cent. Kuehne + Nagel’s North American logistics network totals 12 million square feet of space across 50 distribution centres. There are 11 centres in Canada, which are located in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton. Kuehne + Nagel’s business in the Americas accounts for 14 per cent of its net revenues. Net revenue was US$826 million in 2010 for the Americas, with over 50 per cent from freight forwarding. Kuehne + Nagel has developed its own land transport management and trucking network for Europe. The company employs approximately 61,500 people in 900 offices across more than 100 countries.

DHL Supply Chain & Global Forwarding (2,772,000 ocean TEUs)

DHL Supply Chain (DSC) is by far the world’s largest 3PL and contract logistician. The company is a Division of Deutsche Post DHL, the successor to Deutsche Bundespost, the privatized German equivalent of Canada Post Corporation. Contract logistics revenues were 53 per cent of its gross logistics revenues for 2010. The revenues for Exel (DHL Supply Chain – Americas) contract logistics are US$4 billion with 491 warehouses and 95 million square feet of space. Exel/DSC has operations of virtually every kind on every continent. Current major initiatives involve expansion in pharmaceuticals and sustainability. DHL Global Forwarding (DGF) grew through the acquisition of highly respected companies like Danzas. DGF currently has 31 global carrier partners on a multitude of trade lanes and more than 330 gateway facilities. Deutsche Post DHL employs approximately 467,000 people in more than 220 countries.

DB Schenker Logistics
(1,647,000 ocean TEUs)

DB Schenker, a unit of Deutsche Bahn AG, the German national railway, made significant purchases from 2006 to 2008 to double the size of its operations. Its purchases include BAX in 2006, Spain-Tir in 2007 and Romtrans in 2008. Romtrans was the largest forwarding company in Romania with US$140 million in revenue and 1,500 employees. Operations go as far east as Georgia. Spain-Tir had over 700 trucks and 16 million square feet of warehousing space covering the Iberian Peninsula. BAX added significant North America and Asia capacity. Gross revenues are over US$2.5 billion with the Americas and Asia accounting for 6.5 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively of total revenue. German operations, including Europe’s largest rail freight and trucking operations, make up 70 per cent of total revenue. DB Schenker’s European trucking by land transport has 23,000 employees/owner-operators, and handled 81 million shipments in 2010. Russian and Eastern European operations are also substantial. DB Schenker is significantly expanding its contract logistics operations. North American contract logistics operations break down to: 42 per cent consumer goods, 30 per cent high-tech, 16 per cent industrial and 12 per cent automotive. DB Schenker employs more than 88,000 people in about 130 countries.

Pantos Logistics
(1,512,444 ocean TEUs)  

Pantos Logistics has a full set of service offerings including air and ocean freight forwarding, rail and road transportation in Korea, warehousing, customs, and express transportation. Customers include Korean-based companies like LG and international companies like Philips. Pantos is an international supply chain manager with a large freight forwarding base (1.5 million TEUs and 330,000 airfreight tonnes).

Panalpina World Transport
(1,241,000 ocean TEUs)

Panalpina is the world’s fifth largest in ocean freight. It is publicly owned, and listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. It handles more than 1.2 million TEUs per year, more than 800,000 metric tons of airfreight and about 1 million tons of non-containerized break bulk cargo. It has 242 sub-contracted warehouses in 150 countries and is consistently profitable. Its gross profit is in excess of 20 per cent, EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) and net income are consistently in the top ranks of the industry. Gross profit (net revenue) amounts to 49 per cent for air freight, 39 per cent for ocean freight and 12 per cent for logistics. Panalpina concentrates on six verticals/segments: automotive, healthcare, high-tech, oil & gas, retail/fashion and telecommunications. Telecom growth was major in 2007. Its oil & gas operations are primarily in project logistics, which accounts for 10 to 15 per cent of Panalpina’s revenues. Panalpins has about 15,000 employees which operate from more than 500 branches located in more than 90 countries.

Expeditors International of Washington
(879,713 ocean TEUs)

Expeditors is the largest North American-based freight forwarder. In 2010, the company earned a net of US$345,000 on gross revenues of US$6 billion. Air freight forwarding constitutes 38 per cent of revenues, customs brokerage 39 per cent, and ocean freight forwarding 23 per cent. U.S. and Asia business account for 81 per cent of revenues. Expeditors is the largest forwarder/NVOCC in the Asia/U.S. lane. It handles about 880,000 TEUs per year globally. Of those, 428,000 are shipped from Asia to the U.S. Expeditors net revenues are comprised of 40 per cent high-tech, 33 per cent retail, 10 per cent pharmaceuticals, 10 per cent automotive, 5 per cent furniture and 2 per cent miscellaneous. Expeditors limits its participation in value-added warehousing and distribution. The company has about 13,000 employees operating from 250 locations in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and China.

DSV
(710,000 ocean TEUs)

DSV, a Danish company whose shares are traded on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange, is primarily a non-asset operation. Nearly half of its operations are European over-the-road, its Air & Sea division makes up about 43 per cent and Solutions (logistics) accounts for the rest. The DSV Group is Denmark’s second largest supplier of transport and logistics services. The Group originates in the Nordic countries but has established operations in more than 60 countries in Europe, the Far East and the Americas. Worldwide annual revenues of €5.7 billion were realized by the Group’s 21,300 employees.

Sankyu Inc.
(710,000 ocean TEUs)

Sankyu is a large Japanese conglomerate whose shares are traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and whose principal operations are centered around engineering, construction and operation of international steel, petrochemical, energy, environmental and civil projects and facilities. Its logistics operations consist of airfreight operations, ocean freight operations (through its NVOCC operations), terminal operations and warehousing and distribution. Logistics operations are primarily conducted in Japan, but the company has offices in 27 additional countries. Corporate sales in fiscal 2011 were US$4.8 billion, resulting in net income of US$106 million. Net logistics revenues are thought to be about 10 per cent of group revenues.

Bolloré/SDV Logistics
(705,000 ocean TEUs)

Bolloré SDV is a member of Bolloré Group, a French transportation and freight forwarding company, which generated 2010 revenues of €7.0 billion, and net income of €358 million. The company has about  30,000 employees and operates in 92 countries. SDV is ranked No. 1 in France by IATA and No. 5 in Europe.


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