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Kerry expands in Europe, has eye fixed on France, e-commerce

READY to enlarge its European operations and fresh from its take over of Italian forwarder Tuvia Italia, Hong Kong's Kerry Logistics now has its eye on France. 

"France is the only big economy in Europe that is still missing," Kerry managing director Thomas Blank told New York's Air Cargo World.

"We are working on several other acquisitions. Tuvia Italia was number three in the last five months in Europe. 

"We've got a couple more up our sleeve. In Germany, we still aren't at the size we need to be to be a major player, so we need to look at an acquisition there," he said.

"We are selling into the infrastructure of Asia, looking for customers that need warehousing and value-added services, distribution services or e-commerce cross border services in China and southeast Asia," Mr Blank said. 

As for e-commerce, the mainstay of the traffic, he said the big names are Alibaba, Amazon and eBay. "There are two different channels. There's the milk powder that goes to China. But we're more interested the second channel, the e-commerce platforms that bigger businesses have, where a Chinese supplier puts his goods on Alibaba or Amazon, and then European buyers purchase them." 

Mr Blank also expressed interest in the Sino-Euro rail service. "Ten years ago, people would have said the train was unreliable, but today, trains run like clockwork. Customers are more willing to try new modes," he said.

The train carries 104 TEU, versus the vessel that holds 12,000 to 18,000 TEU, and ships leave daily from Shanghai. But rail is more of a convenient product, between air and ocean freight, he said. 

"In both directions, there was an imbalance of trade in the past, but that has changed, with the ocean carriers ramping up their pricing strategies and the capacity being reduced," said Mr Blank. 

"Kerry just had a customer shift cargo from ocean freight to the train, shortening the transit time. It's was an acceptable price differential for them and it cut down their inventory holding costs," he said. 
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