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Seko Logistics is leveraging its latest private equity investor to expand operations in China.
New owner Ridgemont Equity was unveiled in January which, Seko said would help expand its footprint just as cross-border logistics is seeing major growth.
For example, this year the e-commerce specialist will expand capacity at its warehouse and fulfilment centre in Shenzhen by 400%, to 250,000 parcels a day, following the opening of a new facility in Qingdao for full service cross-dock and export services.
Seko has around 300 staff in China and has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Ningbo and collection centres in Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Yiwu and Xiamen.
Anthony Barnes, Seko’s APAC COO said: “We are increasing our ability to help customers who want their product to be fulfilled in Hong Kong to cater to online orders in China and Asia. Ultimately, we are building a model to vertically integrate all services, from online orders to deliveries.”
Seko said its “rapid” growth in China had been driven by its acquisition of Air-City in the US and its partnership with Hermes Germany, where its ocean and air freight growth to and from the country saw a 20% increase in the past 12 months.
And Mr Barnes told The Loadstar further acquisitions could be on the cards.
“M&A remains a key focus in Seko’s growth strategy and there are some interesting opportunities that would significantly expand our China and APAC footprint.”
E-commerce is a major focus for the forwarder, with Mr Barnes noting Seko’s cross-border business had “experienced a successful 2020, regardless of the Covid crisis” – a 200% increase in volumes provided top line revenue growth of 374%.
“Given the impact of Covid, Seko has taken additional innovative approaches to promote two services with an end-to-end transit time guarantee,” he added. The products cover transit time guarantees for both air and ocean, with services offered from south China to the US, EU, UK and Saudi Arabia, and due to launch in Israel, Brazil and Egypt.
However, guaranteed container shipping transit times could be a challenge, said Mr Barnes, noting that the ocean freight market was still “unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.”
He explained: “Unfortunately, equipment shortages, critical space issues resulting in record premium guaranteed load prices and continued berthing delays outside key ports such as Long Beach, are not abating.
“The bunching of vessels arriving at US and European ports is still causing additional delays. While port operations in China post-CNY are back to normal, we still expect to see the ongoing impact on the overall ocean supply chain.”