For Switzerland-based Kuehne + Nagel (K+N), one of the world’s largest logistics firms, the company’s Miami operations are a key component in its global system.
“Miami is a cornerstone in our network because we act as an important transit hub for our customers in Asia, Europe and South America,” said Thomas Schmied, K+N’s regional vice president for Florida and the U.S. Caribbean.
“We are also the U.S. competence center for our cruise line and hotel logistics solutions, and thus centralize the know-how for our entire U.S. organization here in Miami,” said Schmied, who oversees a large warehouse and office complex in Doral and a logistics order fulfillment and distribution center in Medley.
“Geographically speaking, our activities here in Miami cover every area of the globe, with a focus on South and Central America, Asia and Europe,” he said. “Miami is the undisputed center of logistics to and from Latin America.”
From Miami, K+N offers door-to-door integrated transportation services in sea and air freight as well as logistics services, including order fulfillment and distribution. In addition to supplying cruise lines and hotels, the company’s Miami operations handle supply chain (cold chain) services for the pharmaceutical industry and store and ship aviation parts for clients.
For example, large companies in Latin America buy equipment, parts and merchandise from a variety of suppliers in the U.S. Goods and equipment are delivered to K+N warehouses in Miami and stored until the clients need them.
“Our business here is very balanced,” Schmied said. It includes a mix of air and sea freight, supplying hotels and cruise lines, airplane parts and components and pharmaceuticals. “We pretty much work with everyone in the multinational community.”
The two K+N facilities in Doral and Medley have a total of 116 employees, out of a global workforce of more than 66,000. The company opened its first office in Miami in 1976.
K+N, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, has more than 1,000 offices in over 100 countries. The company was founded in Germany but later moved its headquarters to Switzerland.
The company says that it ranks as the No.1 global sea freight forwarder, the No. 2 air freight forwarder and the No. 2 provider of contract logistics.
Contract logistics refers to designing supply chains and facilities like warehouses, transporting merchandise, distributing goods for customers, managing inventory, etc.
Last year, K+N had gross revenue of about $21.4 billion.
Born and raised in Basel, Switzerland, Schmied has a bachelor’s degree in freight forwarding and logistics, as well as many years of experience in international trade. He began working for K+N in 2000 as the country manager for Argentina and Uruguay, following an assignment in Vietnam with another company. He took over the Miami job five years ago. Before joining K+N, he worked for a Swiss freight forwarder and another large multinational logistics company, holding positions in Switzerland, the U.K., France, the U.S. and Vietnam.
About 50 percent of K+N’s shipments from Miami go to South and Central America, and the rest to Asia and Europe, Schmied said. Imports come from Asia, Europe and Latin America.
“In terms of commodities, our shipments range from fresh foods to temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals to industrial goods, machinery, medical devices and consumer goods,” the K+N executive said. “I always say the only thing we’re not shipping is coal. And no animals.”
In Miami and across the globe, K+N competes with thousands of freight forwarders and logistics companies, including other large multinational enterprises as well as many national and regional firms.
“What we are particularly proud of here at K+N Miami is that we’ve had positive results for over a decade,” Schmied said. “Given the extremely competitive environment of South Florida, we consider this a major achievement and proof that our customers continuously value our services.”
One of K+N’s strongest assets is its global network, supported by a motivated staff and advanced IT systems, he said. Every office works with one single operating system and follows the same norms, so customers know that quality service is consistent worldwide.
Another key element is “asset neutrality.”
“What is the benefit for customers?” Schmied asked. “As a service provider, we don’t have preferences for certain carriers. We find the best alternative for each customer, the best and most economical solution. That means we have to know all our suppliers well and know that they are reliable and responsible. After all, we are the face to the customer.”
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Kuehne + Nagel
Business: Switzerland-based Kuehne + Nagel (K+N) is one of the world’s largest logistics companies, providing sea and air freight, overland freight, warehouse facilities and order fulfillment plus other services. Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, the company says it is the No. 1 global sea freight forwarder, No. 2 air cargo forwarder and No. 2 contract logistics provider. With more than 1,000 offices in over 100 countries, K+N has two centers in Miami handling international imports and exports and logistics services.
Founded: In Bremen, Germany, in 1890 by August Kuehne and Friedrich Nagel.
Headquarters: Schindellegi, Switzerland.
Regional offices: 7850 NW 25th St., Doral (headquarters and main warehouse), plus a logistics center in Medley. K+N opened its first Miami office in 1976.
Regional management: Thomas Schmied, regional vice president for Florida and the U.S. Caribbean.
Gross revenue: About $21.4 billion in 2014.
Ownership: Publicly traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich (Symbol: KNIN). The grandson of founder August Kuehne, Klaus-Michael Kuehne, owns a majority of K+N shares through a holding company.
Employees: 116 in Miami, more than 66,000 worldwide.
Source: Kuehne + Nagel