In a year that saw little change on the Power 25 list, the spotlight fell on the sole new entrant on the list: China-based Apex Logistics International. In 2016, air tonnage shot up for Apex by an impressive 39 percent, while gross revenues topped US$690 million. While this increase came from a relatively small base, the resulting 260,000 tonnes per year was enough to give Apex its debut at No. 21.
“They’re growing very fast, especially on the e-commerce side,” said Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates. “They’ve been growing a lot in the U.S.-China cross-border business. They have some pretty good capabilities there and IT ties with Chinese customers. And then there’s its local network for delivery within China.”
In June 2015, Apex received an $80 million strategic investment from MBK Partners – a leading Asian private equity firm. The investment is being tapped to drive business growth through organic network expansion, bolt-on acquisitions, ongoing information technology infrastructure upgrades, and for improvements in human resource management capabilities.
Apex’s fastest-growing operations were Amsterdam, with 261 percent year-over-year growth, followed by Hong Kong at 76 percent and Chicago at 53 percent. Part of the reason for this spike in demand is Apex’s relationship with both the Alibaba and JD.com platforms China, Armstrong said.
Since launching in 2001 as an airfreight wholesaler, Apex began broadening its service offerings to include retail air freight forwarding, working with some of the top Fortune 500 companies. With more than 2,000 employees, serving customers in 70 countries, Apex Logistics now works with 50 airlines and operates a warehousing footprint of 406,000 square feet.
In the near term, Apex Logistics said it plans to continue expanding, by adding locations in Vietnam, Austria and Germany, Armstrong said. Most existing locations, he added, have attached warehousing/cross docking operations in combination with freight forwarding office space.