Aviation article(s)
September 29, 2017

Panalpina will expand its perishables business and network in Europe by acquiring Interfresh Airfreight Handling in the Netherlands and Cool Chain Group in Germany.


“By acquiring Interfresh we gain full control over the cool chain for one of the perishables industry’s most important trade lanes for flowers – from Nairobi to Amsterdam and beyond,” says Panalpina CEO Stefan Karlen. “It is also a logical transaction as the primary customer of Interfresh is Air Connection, the Kenya-based forwarder that we successfully acquired earlier this year.”


Interfresh operates its own fleet of vehicles and specializes in flowers imported from Kenya and different types of perishables from other origin countries in Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Sister company Fresh Cargo Connection acts as a fiscal representative for customers and Dutch Cargo Connection, another sister company, provides services for other perishables such as fish, fruit, vegetables and mushrooms. The three companies have a cold storage facility at Schiphol Airport and handle around 20,000 tonnes of perishables air freight per year.


Self Photos / Files - Interfresh


All three companies were founded by Sonja Kauffman, who fully owns and leads all three as CEO. She will join Panalpina as the new country head of perishables for the Netherlands.


“In more than 10 years we have built a solid and respected business and steadily grown our perishables volumes,” said Sonja Kauffman, who founded Interfresh in 2004 and fully owns and leads all three companies as CEO. “We are very proud of what we’ve achieved so far and now is the right time to secure further profitable growth, especially in the regions of Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Panalpina has the global network, tools and connections to help us achieve that.”


Cool Chain Group is specialized in international air freight and the import of perishables. As part of the takeover, which was announced just a day after the Dutch deal, Panalpina in Germany will take over a team of employees and a perishables business that handle approximately 14,000 tonnes of air freight per year for over 100 customers.


“Our recent acquisitions in the perishables market have concentrated on the export side, but we also want to increase our footprint in key import markets and build our end-to-end perishables capabilities at major gateways such as Frankfurt and, as demonstrated yesterday, Amsterdam,” said Karlen. “These latest developments are further important steps towards offering complete end-to-end solutions on a global scale as we continue to expand our perishables network.”


The deal is as a result of a strategic decision by Rungis Express, CCG’s parent company, to shift away from international freight forwarding and to focus on its core business of overland distribution and the wholesale of gourmet products.


“Over the years, we have built a very knowledgeable team that specializes in international air freight and the import of perishables such as fresh cut flowers, beans, fish, frozen sea food and mangoes, mostly from Africa and Latin America,” said Kai Schneider, managing director of Rungis Express. “However, we want to refocus on our key capabilities and are convinced that these specialists and the customers they serve will be in better hands with Panalpina.”


Self Photos / Files - FRA


Markus Kampa, former managing director of CCG, will become Panalpina’s new country head of perishables for Germany. Panalpina will gain access to cold storage space within CCG’s temperature-controlled transit warehouse in Kelsterbach, near Frankfurt Airport.


“We are very happy to welcome the new perishables experts in Germany,” said Dominik Wiesler, managing director of Germany at Panalpina. “We are bringing an experienced team on board that will greatly help to develop perishables end-to-end services for Germany and the neighbouring countries of Switzerland, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic.”


No financial details for the two transactions have been disclosed by the companies.

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