Kuehne + Nagel expands European network through acquisition
The announcement will see Kuehne + Nagel expand its leading European overland network with strong positions in all major markets. It is the company’s latest strategic move following the recent takeover of the Jöbstl Group in Austria.
“Rotra is a leading and well-rooted player in the Netherlands and in Belgium – two of the centres of gravity for logistics in Europe,” commented Stefan Paul, Member of the Management Board of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, responsible for Overland. “Their activities strategically complement Kuehne + Nagel’s existing network all over Europe; to the benefit of our local and international customers who will have access to our expanded service portfolio in this region.”
Rotra’s sea freight and air freight, as well as the container terminal activities, will remain with the current owners.
“After more than 100 years of growing our family business, the time has now come to offer our customers an even wider road network and a broader range of services,” commented Harm Roelofsen, Director and co-owner of Rotra. “Kuehne + Nagel, one of the leading logistics providers worldwide, is our partner of choice to enable further growth and at the same time offering our employees the best future development opportunities.”
Kuehne + Nagel will acquire the overland and logistics activities of Rotra. The seafreight and airfreight as well as the container terminal activities will remain with the current owners. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including merger clearance by the competent competition authorities.
Who are Kuehne + Nagel?
Founded in Bremen, Germany, in 1890, Kuehne + Nagel by namesakes August Kuehne and Friedrich Nagal, the company has become one of the leading logistics providers worldwide. Today, Kuehne + Nagel has more than 1,300 offices in over 100 different countries, employing 82,000 people worldwide.
Who are Rotra?
Rotra is a Dutch-based family-owned firm that prioritises customer service, reliability and flexibility. Operating a fleet of more than 200 trucks, Rotra provides Europe-wide overland transportation as well as contract logistics services for Dutch, Belgian and international customers.
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Image: Kuehne + Nagel Press.
FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles
FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics.
The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener".
FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”
The changing role of couriers
Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time.
But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse.
“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”
Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds.
Last mile's role in ESG
Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings.