Kerry Logistics’ global re-branding strategy part of overall expansion

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Editor’s note: Kerry Logistics is one of a number of prominent Asian logistics companies that burst on the global freight scene during the last decade. The Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based Kerry Logistics is part of the Kuok/Kerry Group, an international conglomerate with a diverse business portfolio ranging from commodities trading, property investment & development, hotels, media (South China Morning Post & Bangkok Post), agribusiness (Wilmar International), shipping, financial and insurance services. Christian Ryser is the Managing Director Americas, for the Kerry Logistics Group.By George Lauriat, AJOTAJOT: As part of the Kuok/Kerry Group, one of the first to invest heavily in China, could you give a little background on how Kerry Logistics was launched? Was it part of the existing shipping and warehousing services of the Group?
Ryser: Kerry Logistics was initiated in the year 2000 as a natural consequence to strategically meet our customer needs for integrated logistics and international freight forwarding services on a global basis.
The investment in China was launched in particular as there were opportunities for a Hong Kong based company with strong ties with China to meet growing demand for logistics and freight services.
AJOT: Was this related to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) retail arm?
Ryser: No, this was a separate venture launched to meet demand for web-based retail opportunities in Hong Kong.
AJOT: What is the relationship with carrier side, PCL?
Ryser: PCL is an independently run shipping line operated by Kuok (Singapore) Limited, also the company’s focus is on bulk and tanker operations whereas Kerry Logistics is involved in international freight forwarding and integrated logistics. It is a sister company through the Kuok Group.
AJOT: Two early Kerry Logistics business initiatives were e-commerce and frozen products. What prompted these developments?
Ryser: They were business opportunities that came up in the year 2000. As the dot com boom developed, we saw opportunities in the e-commerce space. We also saw opportunities in cold chain and launched this service which today we offer for retail companies such as M&S and IKEA.
AJOT: The expansion out of the Hong Kong base was very rapid. What was the strategy behind the expansion in Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Belgium, India, Taiwan along with China?
Ryser: We are Asia based, with a China focus and a global network, so we saw the opportunities to expand into China and around the Asia region, as demand was growing dramatically across the region from manufacturers.
Our Europe expansion started with acquiring a company in the UK and as you surely have seen from recent acquisitions, our Europe Management continues to strengthen our network further successfully in this Region to service growing customer demands.
AJOT: An interesting acquisition was the purchase of Wah Cheong Ltd by KerryFlex International, the trading arm of Kerry Logistics, in 2006. How did this purchase fit into the company’s strategy?
Ryser: We have a long history of operating in the food trading and logistics sector, so the Wah Cheong acquisition complemented our long standing strategy in this sector.
AJOT: In general Kerry Logistics has both through partnership and acquisition grown. Is Kerry Logistics looking for North American acquisitions or partnerships?
Ryser: Kerry Logistics is working through its own offices and also through network partners in the North America market under our Americas Management. At this stage we would not like to speculate on future acquisitions, other than to say that the North American market is very important to us, and of course market opportunities are evaluated at all times for added value.
AJOT: In 2004, Kerry Logistics opened the LA office and more recently a Miami office. How does the North American market fit into the overall group? Equally, the

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American Journal of Transportation