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Kuehne + Nagel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kuehne + Nagel International AG und Co.
TypeHolding company
FoundedBremen, Germany (1890 (1890))
HeadquartersBremen, Germany
Area served
Key people
Klaus-Michael Kühne (Honorary Chairman)
Joerg Wolle (Chairman)
Detlef Trefzger
Markus Blanka-Graff
Martin Kolbe
Yngve Ruud
(EVP Air Logistics)
Otto Schacht
(EVP Sea Logistics)
Stefan Paul
(EVP Overland)
Lothar A. Harings
Gianfranco Sgro
(EVP Contract Logistics)
RevenueIncreaseCHF 18.59 billion (2017)[1]
IncreaseCHF 740 million (2017)[2]
Number of employees
92,372 (2017)

Kuehne + Nagel International AG (or Kühne + Nagel) is a global transport and logistics company based in Bremen, Germany.[3] It was founded in 1890, in Bremen, Germany, by August Kühne and Friedrich Nagel.[4] It provides sea freight and airfreight forwarding, contract logistics, and overland businesses. In 2010, Kuehne + Nagel was the leading global freight forwarder, accounting for nearly 15% of the world's air and sea freight business by revenue, ahead of DHL Global Forwarding, DB Schenker Logistics, and Panalpina.[5] As of 2017, it has more than 1,336 offices in 109 countries, with around 82,000 employees.[1]


Early years and evolution: 1890 - 1950s

The origins of Kuehne + Nagel[6] 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.[3]

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 partners in the firm. Adolf Maass (1875 - probably early in 1945 in Auschwitz labour camp), who was Jewish, a partner, and one of the firm's shareholder with a 45% stake, was forced out in April 1933. On the 1st of May 1933 Alfred and Werner Kühne joined the Nazi Party,[7] and under the brothers' management the firm played a prominent role in the transport of property seized from Jews in occupied territories.[8][9]

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 the opening of branch offices in Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. 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 in banking. In 1966, at the age of 30, he joined the management team as executive chairman; and spearheaded KN's future expansion, particularly its European and the Far Eastern operations.

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 the British conglomerate Lonrho Plc for 90 million DM. 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.[10]

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 post of CEO 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.[11]

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.[12]

In 2012, Kuehne + Nagel acquired the business contracts of Canada's Perishables International Transportation (PIT) to expand into global fresh and frozen foods network.[13]

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.[14]

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".[15][16][17]

In June 2020 the 2021 Rugby League World Cup announced that Kuehne + Nagel would become the official Logistics Partner of the tournament, providing logistics services, including requirements for all of the 61 matches across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments, all 32 participating teams, and the fulfilment of warehousing and storage needs.[18]


The group employs approximately 83,000 people in 1000 locations in more than 100 countries and has approximately 12 million sqm of warehouse space under management.[19] It is organised in the following five geographical divisions:[3]


It is divided into the following operating segments:[3]

  • Seafreight
  • Airfreight
  • Overland
  • Contract Logistics

Services and solutions[buzzword]

It provides sea freight and airfreight forwarding, contract logistics and overland businesses; with a focus on providing IT-based logistics solutions.

Its freight forwarding (sea / air) services, include the necessary arrangement for the transport of goods by road and rail. Its contract logistics unit offers warehousing and distribution services.

KN Integrated Logistics includes 4PL Management, Supplier & Inventory Management, Aftermarket Management and Supply Chain Technology. KN Integrated Logistics acts as the single point of contact with full operational responsibility with focus on supply-chain integration.

Kuehne + Nagel's solutions[buzzword] extend to the world's largest industries including: aerospace, automotive, fast-moving consumer goods, high-tech & consumer electronics, industrial goods, oil & gas, retail, pharma & healthcare.[20]


Board of Directors

  • Joerg Wolle (Chairman)
  • Karl Gernandt (Vice Chairman)
  • Klaus-Michael Kuehne (Honorary Chairman)
  • Renato Fassbind
  • Juergen Fitschen
  • Hans Lerch
  • Thomas Staehelin
  • Hauke Stars
  • Martin C. Wittig

Corporate governance

Previous Chief Executive Officers

  • Klaus-Michael Kühne - CEO, 1966 to 1999
  • Klaus Herms[21] - CEO, 1999 to 2009
  • Reinhard Lange[21] - CEO, 2009 to 2013.

Current corporate governance:[22]

  • Detlef Trefzger - Chief Executive Officer, since 2013
  • Markus Blanka-Graff - Chief Financial Officer, since 2014
  • Lothar Harings - Chief Human Resources Officer, since 2010
  • Martin Kolbe - Chief Information Officer, since 2005
  • Otto Schacht - Executive Vice President Sea Logistics, since 2011
  • Yngve Ruud - Executive Vice President Air Logistics, since 2016
  • Gianfranco Sgro - Executive Vice President Contract Logistics, since 2015
  • Stefan Paul - Executive Vice President Overland

See also


  1. ^ a b "Kuehne + Nagel: Global Revenue 2017".
  2. ^ "Kuehne + Nagel: Income".
  3. ^ a b c d "Reuters Finance company profile - Kuehne + Nagel". Reuters. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Kuehne + Nagel: The Extension of Your Business". 14 February 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012. by Dhwani Shah
  5. ^ "The Journal of Commerce - Kuehne + Nagel Ranked Top Forwarder in 2010". July 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Yahoo finance - profile of Kuehne + Nagel". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  7. ^ Hamburg State Archives Signatur 371-8 II_SXXI A15 a 133
  8. ^ "Kühne + Nagel: Jubiläum mit dunklen Flecken | - Kultur - Geschichte - Chronologie". 2015-06-30. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  9. ^ "Kühne + Nagels Rolle bei der Ausplünderung der Juden - DIE WELT". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  10. ^ " profile of Kuehne + Nagel international AG". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  11. ^ "SembCorp Logistics sells stake in Kuehne & Nagel". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  12. ^ "The Other Transition". 390 (8612). The Economist. 2009-01-03. p. 49. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  13. ^ "Kuehne + Nagel Acquires Canadian Perishables Forwarder". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  14. ^ "Kuehne + Nagel and VTG agree rail logistics merger". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Swiss firm fined 31 million over cartel | Business | Newshub". 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  16. ^ "'Gardening Club' freight cartel participant fined $3.1mln | Scoop News". 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  17. ^ "'Gardening Club' freight cartel participant, Kuehne + Nagel, fined $3.1m | The National Business Review". 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "LinkdeIn profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  20. ^ "Kuehne + Nagel: Industry". Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  21. ^ a b "Reinhard Lange to succeed Klaus Herms as Kuehne + Nagel CEO". October 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  22. ^ "Kuehne + Nagel Corporate Governance". Retrieved 13 June 2013.
This page was last edited on 14 January 2021, at 11:50
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