its geographical coverage in the mail and express sectors, as well as expanding the range of logistics services offered. Most of this growth has been achieved through acquisitions. Over a five-year period it has spent US $4.9 billion purchasing other businesses (Harnischfeger, 2002). Companies that have been either wholly or partly acquired include many express companies with national and global networks (including DHL (global), Securicor Distribution (UK), and Ducros (global)), and forwarders and distribution companies (such as Danzas (Europe’s largest ground forwarder), ASG (Nordic countries), AEI (global forwarding) and Nedlloyd ETD (European coverage)) (Datamonitor, 2002). The aim of the company is to become an international player capable of offering an extensive range of mail, express and logistics services, and thereby of providing one-stop shopping for national and international customers. It is currently in the process of integrating these newly acquired businesses. This is a significant task, and involves the integration of the companies’ internal structures, products, brands, sales and IT systems. Exel The merger between Exel Logistics and Ocean Group in May 2000 led to the formation of Exel, the largest logistics service provider in the United Kingdom, and Developments in Western Europe ❚ 367
one of the largest in the world. The merger was viewed as highly appropriate, bringing together the contract logistics capabilities of Exel Logistics with the freight forwarding strengths of Ocean Group. Both companies had been active in the acquisition market over recent years, which had led to Exel Logistics’ presence in several European countries, and to Ocean’s services in both Europe and America. Bringing together these two companies has expanded the range of services offered as well as the geographical coverage (Datamonitor, 2002). Kuehne and Nagel Kuehne and Nagel is a major logistics service provider. It has 17,500 employees based at 600 locations in 90 countries. Traditionally the company was a significant presence in the sea and air freight markets. Recently it has been expanding its contract logistics expertise through acquisition. The German conglomerate Viag held a 33 per cent stake in Kuehne and Nagel. However, Viag withdrew in 1999, and an alliance was reached with SembCorp Logistics of Singapore. This has helped to increase Kuehne and Nagel’s presence in Asia. The acquisition in 2001 of USCO, a large logistics service provider in the United States, has helped to increase the company’s strengths, with warehousing and distribution becoming part of Kuehne and Nagel’s service offering. The company is currently examining how best to improve its trucking capability in Europe. This could be achieved either by acquisition or by an alliance with existing carriers. However, the company acknowledges that most existing European trucking networks are already working closely with its rivals, and it may therefore have to team up with several regional operators (King, 2002).
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