Kuehne + Nagel goes after China pharma logistics

A man with a hard hat and yellow vest kneels to place label on small pallet before putting into refrigerator.

Two days after signing a definitive contract to acquire Hong Kong-based import/export facilitator Apex International Corp., mega-logistics services provider Kuehne + Nagel International AG struck a strategic partnership with Chinese pharmaceutical distributor Jointown, making good on recent plans to expand business in Asia.

Kuehne + Nagel, headquartered in Switzerland and number two in the world for logistics services based on gross revenue, said Wednesday it has entered into a partnership with China’s largest independent pharmaceutical distributor, accelerating its involvement in health care logistics in China.

Kuehne + Nagel has dominant positions in Europe and other markets, but only generates about 10% of logistics revenues from Asia, according to Jefferies analyst David Kersten. The two new deals will increase that share.

The partnership with Jointown gives K + N access to the company’s pharmaceutical-grade storage and distribution network, enabling it to comply with the highly regulated Chinese drug and health care sectors. The cooperation covers warehousing, domestic distribution, international transport and logistics.

“Partnering with Kuehne + Nagel will provide Jointown’s customers access to the international market through their global GxP (good practice quality guidelines) certified air, sea and overseas contract logistics operations. We will now be able to expand our business in overseas markets at a much faster pace and benefit from the partnership in a sustainable way,” Zhang Qingsong, general manager of the logistics business unit of Jointown Pharmaceutical Group, said in a statement.

Kuehne + Nagel and Jointown said their partnership positions them to safely and efficiently handle larger volumes of COVID-19 vaccines as more doses are produced.

Pharmaceutical logistics is one of the fastest growing, and most lucrative, sectors for third-party logistics providers. Kuehne + Nagel has a large pharmaceutical capability and is in charge of distributing Moderna’s COVID vaccine around the world, except in the U.S. The company is also handling storage and transport to dosing centers for regions in several countries.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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