Rhenus LATAM 1

Rhenus Air & Ocean is a step closer to meeting its self-imposed target of 1m teu per year by 2026, following Rhenus Group acquisitions in Latin America of Colombian forwarder BLU Logistics and a 51% stake in LBH Group.

BLU operates in six Latin American countries, as well as China and Hong Kong, shifting some 180,000teu of ocean freight. LBH also operates in six Latam countries, and a further 25 or so worldwide. Their addition will add 2,200 staff to Rhenus Group’s 39,000-strong workforce.

Rhenus said the investments would help boost its Asia-Latam tradelane – something it has been focused on for a while. In May, Rhenus held a media conference at Transport Logistic in Munich, where it espoused the virtues of diversified supply chains and near-shoring – in Latin America in particular.

“We are focused on Latin America via several M&As,” revealed Tobias Bartz, CEO. “There is a shift from China to markets closer to home, such as Brazil, Colombia and Chile. We will likely triple in size in that region over the next years.”

He added that Rhenus’ expansion was not only in air and sea, but also Customs clearance, adding: “[Some of] these [Latam] countries have higher Customs challenges … but we can do it.”

Rhenus’s majority share in LBH, a port agency business across 24 countries which processes all incoming and outgoing vessels, whether bulk, liquid or containers, brings the German forwarding group all its staff and it plans to buy the remainder of LBH in the coming years.

BLU, meanwhile, has a “robust transpacific freight forwarding network” and is the top maritime transport company in Colombia.

Rhenus added: “This strategic move not only allows Rhenus to expand its activities in the region seamlessly, but enables BLU to extend its reach to European and Indian tradelanes, leading to significant growth in customer offerings and cross-selling opportunities.”

David Kassin, CEO of BLU Logistics since it was founded in 1995, will become CEO of Rhenus Air & Ocean Latam. He said: “The  global Rhenus network gives us the possibility to further explore other regions and expand our client base to new segments and geographies, especially to India, the Middle East, South-east Asia, Europe and North America.”

Last year, Rhenus Air & Ocean announced plans to double in size by the end of 2025. Last year, it was expecting 500,000 teu to pass through its hands and Jan Harnisch, co-CEO of Rhenus Air & Ocean, told The Loadstar at the time 1m teu was an easy number to remember.

He said: “The space between the largest and mid-size forwarders is getting bigger and bigger. We need to grow in volume, but it can’t be just organically.”

On the announcement of the new acquisitions yesterday, Mr Bartz said: “The region’s proximity to the North American market fosters a robust environment for nearshoring, which aligns perfectly with our growth strategy.”

Check out this clip from the latest Loadstar Podcast of Stephanie Loomis, head of ocean freight Americas for Rhenus Logistics, talking about the need for scrapping.

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.