With consumer demand, the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerated globalisation making waves across the supply chain, more organisations are pivoting to expand their reach and promote strength in the face of disruption, and Kuehne+Nagel (K+N) is no exception.

In a move that instantly propels K+N to a dominant position in airfreight forwarding, the organisation has announced the largest acquisition in the company’s history with the majority purchase of Apex International (Apex).

Apex, a Hong Kong-based global logistics company provides a formidable mix of warehousing, transport management, distribution, contract logistics and freight forwarding services – a transaction totalling somewhere from $1.5 to $2bn. Since the start of the millennium, Apex has amassed a powerful global network and a reputation rooted in deep supply chain knowledge, diversity and a bold entrepreneurial approach to discovering smarter paths by air, ocean and land. A legacy in logistics that promises to continue as Apex continues to operate independently even after the acquisition is finalised.

Why Apex?

Apex operates on the mission of providing unparalleled quality, value and growth. The logistics organisation has a powerful presence as a leading freight forwarder in Asia with a heavy focus on the transpacific and intra-Asia regions, with an undeniable, competitive edge in both. The company boasts $2.34bn in annual revenues, offices in over 70 countries and an annual air freight volume of about 750,000 tons and 190,000 teu (twenty-foot equivalent units) in sea freight volume.

And, despite the organisation’s larger size, Apex is known for its flexible, entrepreneurial spirit, pragmatism and agile, global presence, spanning six continents and businesses of every size across industry sectors. Hailed for thriving in disruption, a major hallmark of Apex is meeting the challenge of the moment, and even 2020 was no exception.

Last year, Apex was a major advocate for the more than 75% of supply chain organisations grappling with pandemic-driven disruption. The logistics organisation more than doubled capacity and charters to accommodate additional freight and to make more regular flights available to customers. And in 2020, Apex also more than doubled total year-over-year charters, negotiated storage fees to support customers in financial danger and developed a website to guide organisations through navigating the PPE import process. Apex played a key role in educating the industry on PPE transport, including breaking down complex and highly nuanced government exceptions and tariff codes.

Apex has a reputation for using breakthrough technologies to empower greater supply chain resilience and sustainability – measuring carrier emissions to guide the organisation’s energy-efficient facility selection progress. Just last year, Apex increased transparency with complete reporting on customer airfreight emissions. This year, the organisation is continuing to incorporate carrier emissions data into reporting with analytics for deeper insights on trends and patterns.

Following the acquisition, the Apex business and brand will continue operating independently, while leveraging the resources and reach of K+N to sharpen the organisation’s competitive edge while delivering more for partners and customers. The Apex mission of searching for unique approaches to unleash meaningful results – from international air to ocean transport to customs brokerage, local and domestic trucking, warehouse management, global supply chain management, 3PL, risk management, trade compliance and e-commerce – continues.

A history-making move

This power grab significantly expands K+N’s global presence and comes as the forwarding market is sharply positioned for a year of large M&A deals with multiple players, including DSV, looking to expand in Asia – a trend fuelled by an e-commerce explosion sparked by a surge in Covid-19 cases. Apex’s dominating focus on the Asian market empowers K+N with an instant, robust local network there. The acquisition positions the organisation as a commanding figure in the Asian logistics industry, specifically in e-commerce, fulfilment, hi-tech and e-mobility, expanding K+N’s global logistics network overnight and driving more value for clients and their supply chains.

“The combination of Apex and K+N provides 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, Kuehne+Nagel International AG’s chief executive officer. “We are looking forward to welcoming the Apex colleagues to the K+N family.”

“We have found a strategic shareholder and logistics group with more than 130 years of heritage,” said Tony Song, Apex International chairman and chief executive officer. “With this transaction, we will be able to add value to our customers’ supply chains and expand our global network.”

Mr Song notes the synchronicity abundant in the transaction, sharing that Apex will support the existing K+N global air logistics team while offering a vast, global network of supply chain experts and resources. And that the nature of the acquisition enables Apex to tap into greater breadth and depth in reach while maintaining the independent and entrepreneurial approach that has supported the organisation in driving momentum, even throughout 2020.

After completion of the transaction, expected by Q3 this year, Apex will remain a standalone organisation within the K+N group – operating independently with the same brand, company culture, corporate structure, name and entrepreneurial vision that added up to a desirable acquisition. This continued autonomy will allow Apex to flex its competitive edge, while remaining adaptable and pragmatic to find the smartest path to customers and sustainability.

Source: Apex International.