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AIT Worldwide Logistics buys German forwarder Fiege

Acquisition is part of Chicago-based company’s global expansion

Fiege Forwarding manages international air and ocean freight shipments for customers. (Image: Fiege Group)

AIT Worldwide Logistics on Monday announced a firm agreement to acquire German-based FIEGE Group’s international freight-forwarding division, the latest in a string of transactions implementing the company’s expansion strategy.

The move increases AIT’s global footprint by adding locations in Belgium, China, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Itasca, Illinois-based AIT Worldwide provides a full suite of third-party logistics services, including international ocean and air freight management, customs clearance, domestic truck brokerage and warehousing. It specializes in supporting several industry verticals, including aerospace, automotive, e-commerce, health care and government agencies.

The privately held company has more than 1,100 employees and already operates offices in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, the Netherlands and Vietnam. The deal adds another 200 persons to the ranks.

AIT Worldwide has taken over five companies in the past three years. Last month, it bought U.K. custom home-delivery provider Panther Logistics

A large investment by Charlottesville, Virginia-based middle-market financial firm Quad-C in 2017 made possible AIT’s acquisition strategy, which is designed to grow the company’s sales, global footprint and technical capabilities.

In 2018, AIT Worldwide acquired perishables forwarder WorldFresh Express and last year it added ConneXion in the U.K. and Los Angeles-based Unitrans International Corp., its largest deal until that point.

Fiege Forwarding is also heavily involved in e-commerce, health care and industrial sectors, including emergency parts delivery for aircraft needing repair. The Fiege Group said it will focus on its core business of contract logistics. Last year, it had sales of 1.7 billion euros ($2 billion), 19,000 employees and 3.3 million square meters of warehouse space in 150 locations.

AIT and Fiege Forwarding have been partners for several years. Fiege said the merger gives it a larger presence in North America and Asia, helping to provide the scale customers seek.

“As a natural extension of our partnership, this acquisition will allow us to strategically expand our combined scope around the world. We share similar cultures and a like-minded business approach with a focus on growth and delivering expert solutions that drive a world-class customer experience,” AIT CEO and President Vaughn Moore said in a statement.

AIT said the Fiege network is complementary in China and Asia, with Fiege’s trade lanes focused on Europe, helping to diversify the company’s global offerings.

“As AIT has grown over the past several years, we’re serving more multinational customers with increasingly global supply chains. As a result of our newly expanded worldwide network, AIT now has full-time logistics professionals in more economic powerhouse locations than ever before,” said Keith Tholan, AIT’s chief operating officer. “With this acquisition, we have improved the alignment of AIT’s support in regions with the highest demand from our global customers.”

As part of the acquisition, Fiege Forwarding’s Michael Völlnagel has been appointed as AIT’s vice president of Europe. 

Fiege Forwarding this year has played a key role moving personal protective equipment from China to German hospitals under contract with the government.

The transaction is expected to be finalized by Dec. 31.Terms were not disclosed.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]