January 28, 2015: 125 years ago, August Kuehne and Friedrich Nagel founded a forwarding company in Bremen under the name Kuehne + Nagel. What started with transporting raw products such as cotton, cereals, wood, animal feed and sugar, has developed into one of the leading global logistics companies. Today, Kuehne + Nagel has a logistics network that spans the globe and offers its customers integrated and high value-added logistics solutions.
"In the history of Kuehne + Nagel, Bremen continues to have an unrivaled significance", said Klaus-Michael Kuehne, majority shareholder and Honorary Chairman of Kuehne + Nagel International AG. "This is where the company originated and even today valuable initiatives are spread from there to the world, whether from the seafreight competence centre or the contract logistics business unit."
Kuehne emphasized that, in addition to a healthy growth-oriented corporate policy, it was particularly the commitment of the many talented employees which enabled Kuehne + Nagel to reach its current size. "It has always been one of our principles that we motivate employees, develop them within the company and strive for success through teamwork, which is essential for a logistics company with its complex tasks and cross-sectional functions as a service provider."
Three generations at the anchor and wheel – a brief review
It was August Kuehne and Friedrich Nagel whose decisiveness, can-do attitude and innovative services set an example and laid the foundation for the company's success.
In the second generation, Alfred Kuehne shaped the organisation for six decades and not only achieved its special positioning among the leading forwarders in Germany but also initiated the first steps towards internationalization.
At the start of the 1960s a new era started for the family-run company with the arrival of the third generation – Klaus-Michael Kuehne: He realised his vision of establishing a global logistics network that now has around 63,000 employees at 1,000 locations in over 100 countries, and thereby strengthened the position of Kuehne + Nagel in the age of globalisation and international division of labour.
Over recent decades Kuehne + Nagel has not only secured top rankings in the league of global sea and air freight forwarders, but also developed contract logistics into a third key division. In the same way that specialised transportation for cotton and tailored services achieved success for the founders, today IT-based, industry-specific logistics solutions make Kuehne + Nagel an important partner for trade and industry. In addition, due to its innovative overland services, Kuehne + Nagel is able to to support its customers from the first to the last mile of their supply chains.
125+ – a look ahead
Karl Gernandt, Chairman of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, noted in his speech at the lauch event that to date, only a few companies in the logistics industry have been able to demonstrate such tradition and development.
"There are specific strengths such as the entrepreneurial spirit, innovative power, efficiency, the ability to learn and a special company culture lived by all employees that enable Kuehne + Nagel to achieve sustainable success." Gernandt demonstrated his conviction "that building on these strengths and a good mixture of tradition and further development, the Kuehne + Nagel Group is ideally prepared for the future and will not only master the challenges of the coming decades but will also be able to shape them. That is what is meant by the "Plus" in our anniversary logo."
Container Anniversary World Tour – from Bremen to the world
On the occasion of the company's anniversary, Kuehne + Nagel is sending two 40-foot containers on a trip around the world – one to the east and the other to the west. Inside, the containers hold something special: On four multimedia stations, visitors can discover information about the history, service portfolio, innovations and career options at the Kuehne + Nagel Group.
The container will be presented at 14 locations around the world at national customer events. The tour not only underlines the company's leading position in global seafreight but also the strength of its global network.
At the end of the launch event in Bremen, Klaus-Michael Kuehne personally sealed one of the two containers and wished it farewell as it started its "Anniversary World Tour".