The logistics company, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, has acquired the Australian agent Associated Customs & Forwarding (ACF), furthering its rapid international expansion. Thanks to the takeover, cargo-partner has grown its presence in the domestic Australian market with Sydney and Brisbane complementing the logistics activities of the Melbourne office, established in July of 2019.
The growth of cargo-partner is breathtaking, evident by the company’s latest buying spree beginning January 1, 2021. Within this relatively short period of time, the Vienna, Austria-based logistics company has acquired three competitors: Repalog from Germany, the Dutch Transcargo BV, followed now by the takeover of the Australian Associated Customs & Forwarding Services Pty Ltd. Parallel to these acquisitions, remarkable organic growth has also been reported by the family-owned logistics agent headed by owner Stefan Krauter. This is evidenced by the recent expansion of warehouse capacities in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic and the founding of a station in Skopje, the first in Northern Macedonia.
The acquisition of ACF allows cargo-partner to penetrate the Australian market even better since the AXF offices in Sydney and Brisbane complement cargo-partner’s own station in Melbourne, the agent’s first in Down Under.
The most valuable gain ACF contributes to cargo-partner is its large customer base that has grown over the years. The Australian company is IATA accredited and operates 3,000 m² of warehouse space in Sydney, including a bonded warehouse with in-house customs clearance, as well as a quarantine warehouse, serving the requirements of Australian import procedures. The ACF air freight network operates in excess of 320 locations worldwide, with direct airline, consolidations and charter forwarding services available globally. The agent provides order status reports, pre-alerts and arrival advice for cargo tracking, on board confirmation of all exports, as well as electronic tracking facilities.
Following the acquisition, customers of ACF will most certainly benefit from cargo-partner’s comprehensive network of offices, warehouses and professional teams around the globe. One of ACF’s key fields of expertise lies in e-commerce, which is also one of cargo-partner’s declared strategic focus areas.
Common IT Platform
With the addition of ACF’s comprehensive local handling and customs services to its portfolio, cargo-partner can now offer efficient end-to-end e-fulfillment solutions for customers throughout Australia. This will be streamlined by the fact that both companies are using the electronic logistics platform CargoWise, designed by the Australia-based logistics software developer WiseTech Global.
Stefan Krauter, CEO of cargo-partner, is convinced that the collaboration is a win-win situation for both companies. We spoke with the executive following the announcement of the acquisition.
CFG: Mr. Krauter, cargo-partner has recently expanded at an extraordinary pace, to a large extent through acquisitions. How exactly do you finance this buying spree?
SK: Yes, we have grown very strongly since the beginning of the COVID crisis, especially in terms of sales, but this is mainly due to the price component, much less to the volumes generated through organic growth. The acquisitions we made in the UK, among others, enabled us a restart of activities there. In Australia, the purchase of ACF is a valuable addition to our own office’s activities in Melbourne and rounds off our business in the greater region. In the Netherlands and also in Germany our acquisitions were mainly driven by our expanded product range. These investments were all manageable and they were financed out of cash flow.
CFG: What role does air freight play for your Australian business?
SK: Australia is a very interesting market for us, but the freight flows are predominantly decided by business partners based there. We had built up strong traffic flows to Australia twice but lost the business because our local partners were taken over by competitors. That’s why we decided in 2019 to finally take matters into our own hands by setting up a station in Melbourne.
CFG: Looking at the broad picture: Which places would still be interesting for you in Down Under, for instance Perth? And beyond Australia, are you eyeing New Zealand or any other location in the vast Oceanian region?
SK: As to Perth: There, we can already manage our transports in and out very well, even without any operational staff standing on our payroll. Perth is a very expensive labor market and very strong in the oil/gas/mining business. We are quite happy with the current situation and have no specific plans there. The same applies to Auckland in New Zealand.
As to Indonesia: should an interesting opportunity arise there, we would examine it carefully. However, we are mainly interested in positioning ourselves more strongly in the important markets in Western Europe. But right now, we need some kind of a break because only successful post-merger integrations make acquisitions meaningful, and these require time, money and management resources.
CFG: Thank you for the interview.
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