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The cargo-partner group celebrates its 35th anniversary

Family Business with a Spirit for Innovation: 35 Years of cargo-partner

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

The year 2018 marks the 35th anniversary of cargo-partner, and cargo-partner teams are celebrating the occasion with a range of different activities around the world: from a "family day" at the company headquarters to an international children's drawing competition, a hot air balloon sponsorship and a special merchandise edition. Several cargo-partner countries are also celebrating anniversaries this year, including the 25th anniversary in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the 20th anniversary in Poland, and the 10th anniversary in Thailand and Singapore. This occasion offers a chance to look back on the past three and a half 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 the SPOT Visibility & Collaboration Platform 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 12 offices in the USA as well as 21 in the Asia-Pacific region. “Our growth has always been an organic one, driven by the growing demand of our clients. We made a conscious decision against joint ventures and instead chose to rely fully on the expertise we develop in our own houses,” Stefan Krauter affirms.

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 a comprehensive striving for ecological, economical 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 (BWB) with a total amount of 500,000 € 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.”

Most recently, cargo-partner has joined a number of new initiatives championing sustainable technologies in logistics. Examples include the Council for Sustainable Logistics which focuses on future-viable technologies in urban logistics and promotes the development of e-trucks, or the project Logistics 2030+, which designs and implements solutions for the optimization of urban freight traffic and the reduction of CO2 in Vienna and Lower Austria. These projects also reflect the enthusiasm for innovation which is at the basis of all of cargo-partner’s business activities.

 

Innovation and entrepreneurial ambition

There is a common theme which emerges from this review of the past 35 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 the development of its info-logistics solutions. 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 iLogistics Center near Vienna Airport which took up operations in July, the iLogistics Center in Sofia which was also opened in early Summer, as well as warehouse openings and expansions in Hamburg, Ljubljana, Dunajska Streda, Clarksville, Chicago, Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong.

 

“We want to be a true partner to our customers”

In the area of info-logistics, cargo-partner is currently placing a strong focus on its “Purchase Order Management”. With this service, the company supports its customers in optimizing their collaboration with suppliers, which enables higher delivery reliability and a reduction of operating costs. Likewise, cargo-partner is taking large steps in optimizing its internal processes by means of the SPOT Platform. Within the past year, data quality within the company has improved by 60%, while productivity has been raised by 20%, thanks to SPOT’s comprehensive reporting functionalities.

To maintain an overview over 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 things we want to be a true partner to our customers. Our company logo shows two seagulls flying upwards. This image represents our striving to constantly become better – always in close cooperation with our clients, partners and colleagues. Our company was founded on a comprehensive understanding of partnership and team spirit – and this is what still makes us strong today”, Stefan Krauter is convinced.