LA Trans MOU signing
Photo: Taewoong Logistics signs MoU with LA Trans

South Korean 3PL Taewoong Logistics plans to enter Europe’s haulage market with the acquisition of Croatian trucking firm LA Trans.

Last week, Taewoong signed a memorandum of understanding with LA Trans, intending to finalise the takeover in Q3.

Established by Alan Lincic in 1993, family-owned LA Trans has been hauling containers from Croatia’s Rijeka and Slovenia’s Koper ports since 2003, counting Maersk among its largest customers.

Taewoong CEO Han Jae-dong said: “Rijeka is Croatia’s largest trading port and is a key transportation hub for the Adriatic. We expect to secure know-how of the European inland transport market, which has high entry barriers, through the acquisition of a local company.”

Rijeka handled 409,000 teu in 2023, and Maersk’s terminal operating arm, APM Terminals, is jointly developing the $405m Rijeka Gateway Terminal with Croatia’s ENNA Group. Due to open next year, the new terminal will process 650,000 teu a year in its first phase.

Mr Han said: “We believe LA Trans’s operations will remain stable, post-acquisition. We expect to improve local logistics services and cost competitiveness by establishing transport infrastructure in a key logistics hub in Eastern Europe. This would be a springboard for our full-scale entry into the market.”

Taewoong is also looking to tap into the cargo growth at the port of Koper. Last year, it handled 1.07m teu and almost a million vehicles, making it the busiest container gateway along the Adriatic and one of Eastern Europe’s largest vehicle ports.

Mordor Intelligence estimates that the Eastern European logistics market will grow from $126.85bn this year to $154.7bn in 2029, powered largely by ecommerce. It said: “Eastern European countries are among the fastest-growing economies in Europe. Also driving this growth are the relatively cheap costs in Central and Eastern Europe that have attracted companies such as Amazon (Slovenia) and Alibaba (Poland).”

Taewoong has been growing through acquisition in recent years, and last year bought compatriot Transall, an air freight specialist, for $9.6m, to boost its air cargo capability.

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