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The cargo-partner group celebrates its 40th anniversary

40 years of cargo-partner – 40 years of excellence

From an airfreight specialist with a small team at Vienna Airport to an international all-round transport and logistics provider with over 4,000 employees: Read on for a brief overview of the main challenges the company has faced in the last four decades as well as the principles that form the foundation of its international success.

The year 2023 marks the 40th anniversary of cargo-partner, a company that generated a turnover of 1.8 billion euro in 2021 and currently employs 4,000 people worldwide. Several cargo-partner countries are also celebrating anniversaries this year, including the 30th anniversary in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the 25th anniversaries in Poland and Croatia as well as the 15th anniversary in Thailand and Singapore. This occasion offers a chance to look back on the past four decades and the milestones and challenges cargo-partner has faced along the way.

Humble beginnings at Vienna Airport

In 1983, cargo-partner CEO Stefan Krauter founded the company “air cargo partner” with only five people at Vienna Airport. Specializing on air freight at first, the small team soon began to expand its expertise to include sea freight services. Thanks to a growing network of trucking partners, the transport provider was able to handle pre- and on-carriage and offer integrated logistics solutions. Eventually, cargo-partner moved its headquarters to Fischamend while keeping air freight operations at Vienna Airport.

After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the logistics provider quickly began to make use of this ideally situated hub in Vienna to branch out to the neighboring countries in the east. “We were among the first logistics companies who ventured to Eastern Europe at the time. This bold first step gave us a head-start which we gradually expanded on,” explains Stefan Krauter. After opening the first offices in Bratislava, Prague and Budapest, cargo-partner continued to follow the increasing demand while relying on organic growth to establish itself in all major cities in the CEE region. By the year 2000, cargo-partner had reached this goal and had set up offices in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Germany and Romania with considerable success.

“Not ready to rest on our laurels”

Stefan Krauter recalls his state of mind after reaching these first milestones: “After this first success, we were not ready to rest on our laurels. Following the spirit of innovation that has always been a distinguishing mark of our company, we started the new millennium with several more leaps into the unknown.”

Between 2000 and 2005, cargo-partner decided to take on three more challenges: Asia, the USA and, perhaps most significantly, info-logistics. “In the wake of globalization and digitalization, our range of responsibilities has significantly expanded. Logistics is no longer about simply delivering goods from A to B. Today, the focus has shifted to intelligent information management, or in other words: info-logistics,” the cargo-partner CEO explains.

In the year 2000, cargo-partner began using SPOTworx for all aspects of transport and supply chain management. Within a short time, the info-logistics solutions provided with the help of the SPOT platform had become an integral part of cargo-partner’s service portfolio.

“We fully rely on the expertise in our own house”

At the same time, the company began to take increasingly large steps with its international expansion. In 2001, the logistics provider opened the first office in New York, followed by the first subsidiaries in China and Taiwan in 2004. Today, cargo-partner has 10 offices in the USA and is active in 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

This basic principle is also reflected in the company’s motto: The maxim “we take it personally” embodies the strong emphasis on human values that have distinguished the family enterprise since its foundation. For Stefan Krauter, this world view not only entails appreciation for employees and clients, but also includes striving for ecological, economic and social sustainability.

Sustainable improvements across borders

In 2006, cargo-partner founded the association “environmental cargo-partners” with the aim of taking practical steps for the development of resource-efficient technologies and for the reduction of harmful emissions. One of the most remarkable endeavors in this regard was the support of a research project for the construction of a manned Blended Wing Body aircraft with a total amount of € 1 million over the course of five years.

In addition, cargo-partner has teamed up with various organizations worldwide for a range of social projects, including Light for the World, Jugend Eine Welt, SOS Children’s Villages, and numerous other local and international institutions. Stefan Krauter states: “In my personal responsibility, I see future-oriented thinking for coming generations as an essential aspect of any business activity. For cargo-partner, social responsibility means the obligation to create sustainable improvements beyond national and cultural borders.”

Innovation and entrepreneurial ambition

There is a common theme which emerges from this review of the past 40 years of cargo-partner’s history: a strong spirit for innovation with a bold look into the future and a lot of entrepreneurial ambition. For the near future, cargo-partner has set itself two strategic goals: On the one hand, the company will keep focusing on further developing its transport and logistics service portfolio. On the other, cargo-partner will continue to expand its worldwide warehouse capacities and contract logistics services.

The most recent investments into cargo-partner’s contract logistics network include the sustainable timber-based – and award winning – iLogistics Center near Vienna Airport which took up operations in July 2018, the iLogistics Center in Sofia which was also opened in early Summer, as well as warehouse openings and expansions in Hamburg, Ljubljana, Dunajska Streda, Zagreb, Istanbul, Clarksville, Chicago, Bangkok, Singapore, Kunshan, Hong Kong, etc. leading to more than 300,000 m² of warehouse space at over 40 locations worldwide.
In Ljubljana, the already rather large warehouse that opened in 2019 had to be expanded earlier than originally planned due to rapid business growth and increased market demand.

“Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk”

In the past five years cargo-partner bolstered its position to be prepared for any future challenges, further growing its network of branch offices worldwide. In 2019 cargo-partner followed the needs of its customers to Australia, extending the company’s global footprint to a new continent.

In 2021 a new branch was added in the United Kingdom. In the wake of Brexit, when most companies where evaluating their presence in the country, cargo-partner decided to seize this opportunity and upgrade its network. The company now operates successfully with three branch offices out of the UK. The same year also saw the opening of new branches in Greece, North Macedonia and Mexico, followed by Spain in 2022. Finally, this year also marked the addition of Indonesia to the cargo-partner network, which now serves as a hub for cargo-partner’s further expansion strategy in Asia.

“we take it personally”

To maintain an overview of all these projects and ensure the right balance between personal values and entrepreneurial ambition, cargo-partner’s management frequently returns to the principles the company was founded on. And these do not only show in the motto “we take it personally”, but even in the choice of name and company logo. “Above all we want to be a true partner to our customers. Our company logo shows two seagulls flying upwards. This image illustrates how we are constantly striving to become better – always in close cooperation with our clients, partners and colleagues. Our company was founded on a common understanding of partnership and team spirit – and this is what still makes us strong today,” Stefan Krauter is convinced.

Here’s to another 40 years of success and satisfied customers!