The Power 25: Forwarders to watch in 2017

C.H. Robinson

While this Minnesota-based forwarder missed the Power 25 list again this year, and has suffered from the effects of weaker truckload pricing on its overall business, first-quarter 2017 revenues for its Global Forwarding segment grew 33.5 percent to $468.8 million, compared to the previous year. Net revenues for the division increased 14.7 percent, year-over-year, to $106.5 million, while air net revenues increased 17.2 percent, y-o-y, to $20.4 million. Also, the September 2016 purchase of APC Logistics, providing freight forwarding and customs brokerage services in Australia and New Zealand, is just beginning to be felt in C.H. Robinson’s bottom line. “They’ve been doing pretty well on the ocean side,” Armstrong said. “We’ll see what happens them on the air side.”

CJ Korea Express

This largest logistics firm in South Korea is currently far back in the pack, globally, but don’t expect it to remain there for long. With a stated desire to be “one of the top five global logistics enterprises by 2020,” CJ Korea, founded in 1930, is in serious expansion mode. With 71 locations in 16 countries, this forwarder with $3.8 billion in total sales, is owned by CJ Group, a large conglomerate with holdings in the food service, pharmaceuticals, entertainment and home shopping industries, which now wants to expand into logistics. “Koreans are growing operations,” Armstrong said. “They did a lot in the warehouse distribution side and domestic transportation, but they do have some pretty good freight forwarding capabilities as well.” Expect to see them make some moves in 2017 to capture more 3PL work.

Japan-based forwarders

This year, NNR Global Logistics climbed three spots to No. 17, as did Hitachi Transport Systems, now standing at No. 22. Nippon Express (No. 7) and Yusen Logistics (No. 15) both held their ground, while Kintetsu fell just one spot to No. 12. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re based in Japan and are following a similar growth pattern outside their home country. “It’s a definite strategy, to grow through Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and then the U.S. and Europe as well,” Armstrong said. “If you look at all these companies, they’re trying to increase their network scale. Money’s pretty cheap now, so it’s pretty easy to open up offices and expand operations.” NNR, especially, has become a “multi-faceted 3PL,” despite being owned by one of the Japanese railroads. “They do a lot in the high-tech side,” he added. “They do live plants, they do retail as well. They’re the 40th largest 3PL with $1.7 billion in gross revenue. They seem to be definitely in an expansion mode, growing their U.S. network as well.”

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