Kuehne + Nagel

    Kuhne & Nagel International AG history, profile and corporate video

     Kuhne & Nagel International AG is engaged in the provision of logistic services. It also offers strategic solutions such as hotel logistics and emergency and relief logistics. It operates through the following segments: Seafreight, Airfreight, Road and Rail Logistics, Contract Logistics, Real Estate, and Insurance Brokers. The Seafreight segment provides Less-than-Container Load (LCL) services, which consolidate cargo and is involved in customs clearance, trade compliance and river shipping. The Airfreight segment includes KN Express, KN Expert, KN Extend, KN Extreme Fresh, KN PharmaChain, and special transport services such as charter services and sea-air traffic. The Road and Rail Logistics segment includes groupage network, full and part load network, specialized network for the pharmaceutical and chilled products, KN Rail Flex, KN Rail ProLog, KN Rail Intermodal, and KN Rail Projects. The Contract Logistics segment includes inbound, in-house, outbound, and after sales logistics, supply chain consulting, industry solutions, and packaging solutions. The Real Estate segment includes the management, expansion, and optimization of the company-owned real estate portfolio. The Insurance Broker segment includes brokerage of insurance coverage, mainly marine liability. The company was founded by August Kuehne and Friedrich Nagel in 1890 and is headquartered in Schindellegi, Switzerland.

    “Kuehne + Nagel History

    Early Years and Evolution: 1890 – 1950s

    The origins of Kuehne + Nagel (pronounced “KOO-nuh and NAH-gel”) was in 1890, when August Kühne and Friedrich Nagel founded a forwarding commission agency in Bremen, Germany. It initially used to concentrate on cotton and consolidated freight. Later in 1902, it expanded its operations to the German seaport city of Hamburg.

    In 1907, the co-founder Friedrich Nagel died, and August Kühne took over his shares in the company. The legacy of Nagel still lives on, in the company’s name – Kuehne + Nagel (KN). The First World War greatly affected its businesses. Upon Kühne’s death in 1932, his sons – Alfred and Werner became joint partners.

    Transition to a Swiss Holding Co. , and expansion : 1950s – 1990s

    In the early 1950s, Alfred Kühne initiated the company’s international expansion; and KN expanded its operations into Canada, with opening of branch offices in Toronto and Montreal. In 1963, KN took a controlling stake in Athens based Proodos S.A, and also expanded into Italy. In 1975, the company adopted a holding company structure, with the formation of Kuehne + Nagel International AG based in Schindellegi, Switzerland as the ultimate holding company.

    In the mid-1960s, a third-generation member of the Kühne family, Klaus-Michael Kühne joined his father Alfred Kühne as a junior partner, having completed an apprenticeship inbanking. In 1966, at the age of 30, he joined the management team as executive chairman; and spearheaded KN’s future expansions, particularly its European and the Far Eastoperations.

    In 1981, Alfred Kühne died; and in July the same year, due to the losses sustained by the Kühne family in attempting to expand its shipping fleet, a 50% stake in KN was sold to theBritish conglomerate Lonrho Plc for DM 90 million. Following the purchase, Klaus-Michael Kühne and Lonrho’s head, Roland “Tiny” Rowland acted as joint chief executives of the combined organisation. KN further expanded with its acquisition of freight companies : Domenichelli SpA (Italy), Van Vliet BV (Netherlands), Hollis Transport Group Ltd. (UK), Transportes Tres (Spain), and other acquisitions in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

    Further Expansion : 1990s – Present

    The 1990 German reunification was an important event for many German companies, including KN; and provided them the necessary impetus to expand further. After the reunification, KN integrated its network in the former German Democratic Republic, and consolidated its operations. In 1992, it bought back Lonrho plc’s 50% stake in the company; and went public in May 1994. It was listed on the Zurich and Frankfurt exchanges, which provided a platform for further exchange based acquisitions. The same year, KN established a Russian subsidiary; and pushed ahead into Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

    In the mid 1990s, strategic focus given to expand the lucrative logistics-related contracts / operations paid off – one being with DuPont in which KN would operate the chemical giant’s leveraged distribution activities in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In July 1999, Kühne handed over the CEO post to Klaus Herms, and continued as the executive chairman and president of the board.

    In the early 2000s, KN got a foothold in the Asia Pacific contract logistics market, when it forged a strategic alliance with Singapore based SembCorp Logistics. In 2001, it acquired USCO Logistics Inc. – a warehouse-based logistics service provider based in Hamden, Connecticut for US$300 million. KN and SembCorp chose to follow different strategic paths in 2004, and ended their strategic partnership.

    In October 2007, the board of KN appointed Reinhard Lange as the successor to CEO Klaus Herms, effective June 2009 to ensure a smooth handover. The succession plan was similar to the SAP’s 2007 CEO transition plan from Henning Kagermann to Léo Apotheker, which received praise in the media.

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    In 2012, Kuehne + Nagel acquired the business contracts of Canada’s Perishables International Transportation (PIT) to expand into global fresh and frozen foods network.

    In September 2013, Kuehne + Nagel agreed to merge its railfreight business with VTG to form VTG Rail Logistics, which would be Europe’s largest private railfreight business when it starts operations in 2014.

    In April 2014, Kuehne + Nagel International was fined $3.1 million for its part in a freight forwarding cartel case brought by the Commerce Commission. Kuehne + Nagel was the last defendant in the seven-year investigation involving six firms, who referred to themselves as the “Gardening Club” and used horticultural code to discuss anti-competitive practices among them. The regulator’s investigation uncovered emails that referred to agreed surcharges as “the new price for asparagus for the forthcoming season” or “the price of marrows”.”

    *Information from and

    **Video published on YouTube by “LogisticsX



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