The North and Latin American markets are the new focus regions for future growth for the Rhenus Group. A challenging and, at the same time, dynamic objective. It will be achieved through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions, Rhenus executives announced at TIACA's ACF in Miami last week.
Miami has become the center of gravity for Rhenus in The Americas. This is due to two decisions: First, the acquisition of Freight Logistics International in 2019: the agent based there substantially enlarged Rhenus’ reach into Latin America since it runs offices in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. And second, the operation of a 16,000 m² warehouse in the Free Trade Zone on the outskirts of Miami International Airport. Thanks to the rented facility, Rhenus can offer its customers a wide range of services, such as picking and packing of goods, the storing or consolidation of shipments, security controls, and the 24/7/365 onforwarding of imports or exports by road, air, or ocean. On CargoForwarder Global’s tour through the facility and talking to staff, it was immediately evident how proud people are to work there.
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All employees are certified by the Transport Security Administration (TSA). An integrated Quality Management System including systemic risk assessments, the monitoring of delivery quality coupled with an Energy Management System, enable utmost transparency of processes and workflows, states Javier Morales, Warehouse & Distribution Branch Manager. Like all other staff working in the facility, including the offices, he is of Latin American origin. “One workforce, one language. That avoids communication problems and misunderstandings,” notes Ulrich Schorb, Head of Supply Chain Americas.
The ratio air freight to ocean freight stands at 80% to 20%, with imports clearly dominating. “The U.S. is a country that imports most products, be they apparel, automotive, high-tech, or machinery,” says Felix Krede, Director Global Key Account Management at Rhenus Group. All incoming goods are scanned, and truck drivers have to physically sign transport documents, “mainly for security reasons,” explains Mr. Schorb. However, he puzzles his guests during a presentation by saying that “the entire supply chain is still based on paper.” Odd, that this should still be the case in a country that is home to digital giants such as Google, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, or Apple.
Touching cyber security, he says that it has increasingly become an issue, and that insuring against misuse or even criminal malware or ransomware attacks is almost unpayable.
Asked about profit or losses of Rhenus in The Americas, Schorb does not provide figures. “We are a private company and do not publish our turnover. But I can confirm that we are profitable - not only in Miami.” Worldwide, 37,500 staff stand on Rhenus’ payroll, generating sales totaling EUR 7 billion in 2021.
Expanding the network further
Currently, Rhenus is represented in 8 countries across The Americas, split into 21 stations and offices managed by 4 regional hubs in the USA, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil. The transcontinental network is complemented by warehouse locations in strategic cities near main ports and airports, focusing on air freight and ocean freight handling, including Atlanta, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Lima, Mexico City, Miami, New Jersey, New York, Sao Paulo, and Toronto, to name but a few. The total warehouse storage and handling area comprises of 64,810 m².
More investments to follow
Rhenus focusses on organic growth but is also on the lookout for attractive acquisition targets, particularly small or medium-sized companies that complement its own service portfolio. An example is the Toronto-based Rodair Group, that was taken over in early 2019. The agent’s business activities involve international freight forwarding, project logistics, courier, warehousing and distribution, 3PL services, and e-commerce solutions. “We want to further strengthen our footprint in The Americas by enhancing the sustainable organic growth of the company and focusing on mergers and acquisitions,” Tobias Koenig, Global CEO of Rhenus Air & Ocea, confirmed at a press conference in Miami last week. This, he stated, will be done “by investing across The Americas to build a stronger transatlantic network with Europe, intensify transpacific cargo flows, and expand into contract logistics and multimodal transportation in Latin America.”
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