The Swiss logistics group Kuehne+Nagel has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the Chinese freight forwarder Apex International Corporation. No financial details were released.

Apex was founded in 2001 and has about 1,600 employees. It generates yearly revenues in excess of €1.9 billion. In 2020, the company handled total air freight volume of approximately 750,000 tons and sea freight volume of 190,000 TEU.

“The combination of Apex and Kuehne+Nagel provides us with an opportunity to offer our customers a compelling proposition in the competitive Asian logistics industry, especially in e-commerce fulfilment, hi-tech and e-mobility, said Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne+Nagel International.

The purchase will be financed by existing liquid sources and, if needed, by available credit lines, the Swiss company said. Apex will continue to operate separately within the Kuehne+Nagel group and its management will retain a ”minor” stake.

Freight forwarders store freight for their customers and arrange the transportation of those goods into small shipments. They usually ship freight under their own bills of lading (BOLs), store freight at their warehouses, and are responsible for insuring it. They also can be liable for the loss of or damage to the shipment.

Switzerland is an important logistics hub for the Italian fashion industry. In the first nine months of 2020, the country was the single largest export market for Italian shoe makers, down by 9.0 percent year-on-year to €1.192 billion in value and by 16.4 percent in volume to 10.5 million pairs.