KLG Europe

KLG Europe stands by partnership and cooperation

27 October 2020

In September 2019 a newsflash made the rounds in the European logistics trade press. Dutch logistics service provider KLG Europe, which was founded in 1918 and had since been in the hands of the Kuijken family, would be sold to the Chinese logistics group Sinotrans. The statement made in the newsflash that nothing would change for employees, customers, and network partners due to the takeover has turned out to be true: KLG Europe stands by its partnerships and cooperations, including its membership at 24plus. At 24plus, KLG Europe has been the partner for the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Ireland since 2001; through its subsidiary KLG Europe Logistics SRL, they have also been partner for Romania since 2006. We inquired at the Venlo office about the background of the sale. We also wanted to know what has changed during the first year under the new owner Sinotrans.

An article from: 24plus Punkte_2_2020

Background of the sale
“Selling the company was a hard decision. After all, it had been in our family’s hands for more than a century”, says Kees Kuijken. The reason for the sale was a lack of successors in the family who were willing to assume responsibility for the company with its twelve branch offices in three European countries as well as four branch offices in China. One condition for the sale was that the buyer would respect the core values of the company, its open-minded company culture, and the loyalty of its employees; the buyer was also to continue operating the company as a whole. Kees Kuijken: “We preferred a non-European buyer without their own structures on the European continent in order to avoid KLG Europe being split up.”

The buyer Sinotrans
In Sinotrans, they found a buyer who met these conditions. The fact that KLG Europe and Sinotrans had been working closely together in China since the foundation of KLG-ITM in 2014 was another positive factor. Sinotrans is the largest logistics service provider in China and the entire Far Eastern economic region. The company has 40,000 employees in over 900 branch offices. Sinotrans covers the entire spectrum of logistical activities, including warehousing, global overland transports and railway transports, air and sea freight, container cross-docking, and customs clearance services. In 2018, turnover amounted to over 10 billion US dollar. Kees Kuijken: “Even though Sinotrans is larger than KLG by several orders of magnitude, there are many overlaps where strategic orientation and activities are concerned.”

Sinotrans leaves the entire management in Dutch hands
With the sale, the former owners – brothers Ad and Kees Kuijken – withdrew from entrepreneurial responsibility and are now only active in an advisory capacity. Erik Loijen has been the new CEO since early 2020. Before he assumed responsibility for all European activities, he had been managing director of the main location in Venlo for KLG Europe for twenty years. Roy Queis succeeded him as branch office manager in Venlo on 1 September 2020. Patrick Rutten, came on board as the new CFO on 2 March 2020. 

Erik Loijen - CEO KLG Europe

Big plans with KLG Europe
Sinotrans considers KLG Europe to be the ideal platform for expanding their activities on the European continent. In addition to professionalism and employee loyalty, the deciding factors for the purchase were the large international customer portfolio and the strong turnover growth which KLG Europe was able to achieve in recent years. However, the most important factor for buyer Sinotrans was that KLG Europe offers Europe-wide coverage through their branch office network and memberships at networks such as 24plus and the French network Astre. “For Sinotrans, KLG Europe fills the role of an organisation for Europe”, explains CEO Erik Loijen. “For transports from Asia to Europe and vice versa, we provide all of our services to our customers from a single source.”

Growth through Sinotrans
Due to the ideal constellation, new owner Sinotrans has no reason to change the strategic orientation of KLG Europe. However, in the year since the takeover, much has changed at the level of operations. “Before Corona, we had our hands full with responding to the many inquiries from China and processing the orders”, says Erik Loijen. “Even if the pandemic is changing the flow of goods, Europe and China will remain important trade partners. Our new constellation offers us enormous opportunities for future growth.”


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