C.H. Robinson goes to China

C.H. Robinson goes to China

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

Growing into a billion-dollar domestic logistics giant isn''t good enough anymore.

After stepping carefully into Europe and South America in recent years, C.H. Robinson is plunging full force into China to carry its brand of third-party and trucking brokerage service to the international arena. The Minneapolis-based company is opening seven offices in mainland China and said last month it expects to expand its freight forwarding business there.

"We are evolving from a domestic trucking and logistics company to a global logistics company," said Joseph Mulvehill, vice president, international at the company. "We''ve been in Europe for seven years and South America for six years. This is our first foray into China."

It''s all because shippers wants them to be there, he says. Customers want a 3PL that "can control the origin, the execution, the vendor and carrier management, any of those services rendered in China," he said.

And these American and European customers have been asking for these services "for a couple of years at least," he said. "We are committed to provide door-to-door service to all our customers. With globalization in place today we need to have a presence in different parts of the world. China is a very significant manufacturing point today."

C.H. Robinson customers should see improved service in China in the next few months as the company installs technology to improve shipment tracking and visibility to customers in the new offices in Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen and Shenzhen. The system is being installed in three offices and soon will be rolled out to the others.

The China expansion is a result of C.H. Robinson''s acquisition last month of assets of Dalian Decheng Shipping Agency, a partner of the company since 1998. DDSA is a China-based nonvessel-operating common carrier.

C.H. Robinson hired the approximately 90 employees of DDSA, including its leadership team, which will continue to manage the offices. C.H. Robinson''s Asia operations will be headquartered in Dalian. C.H. Robinson already had an office in Hong Kong the acquisition.

With more than 167 offices, the company had gross revenue of $3.6 billion last year.