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The Best of Both Worlds: World Net Logistics’ Acquisition by the Rhenus Group

Following its acquisition in early 2019 by Germany’s Rhenus Group, a leading global logistics service provider, local specialist World Net Logistics is experiencing the extensive benefits of the takeover. Integrating the two entities with different strengths has proven to be highly advantageous for both the group and its clients, according to World Net Logistics’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dirk Goedhart.

World Net Logistics is an international freight forwarding and logistics company focused on providing comprehensive and effective supply chain end-to-end solutions to a broad range of industries in Southern Africa. It has its own fleet for overland services, as well as warehouse capacity totalling 50,240 square metres in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, George, East London and Walvis Bay.

Goedhart outlines some of the strategic benefits that have emerged since the takeover:

“We joined a strong family-owned business with a decentralised structure, which has enabled us to access and leverage a global network yet keep the agility and flexibility we are known for,”

says Goedhart. The Rhenus Group is a logistics services provider with global business operations and an annual turnover of EUR 5.5 billion.

The group’s hierarchy is flat, enabling quick decision-making.

“Rhenus has paid a lot of attention to the local set up and market, retaining the differentiators for which World Net Logistics is known, whilst adding to its capabilities and portfolio,”

Goedhart points out.

“Our approach to introducing the Rhenus brand into South Africa has been strategically planned and prepared.”

Customer-centricity has been a differentiator for both World Net Logistics and Rhenus.

“Our single point of contact approach remains firmly in place,”

Goedhart states.

“Our clients liaise with a dedicated account manager, who is skilled, knowledgeable and experienced. This operating model simplifies the process for the customer, enabling them to focus on their core business. This is what continues to set us apart: we really understand our clients’ businesses and their strategic requirements.”

The company’s client retention record vouches for the fact:

several customers have been with World Net since it commenced operations in 2002. “We have grown with our clients over the years,” continues Goedhart,

“the longer the relationship, the better value we are able to deliver.”

Through the acquisition, World Net Logistics’ international network has expanded significantly and now comprises more than 750 offices with over 33,000 employees globally.

“Our own international presence enables us to offer customers even more consistency,”

he adds.

“The branch network within countries is far denser now, which brings us closer to the suppliers of our clients. In Germany and China for example, our locations have more than quadrupled”.

The sharing of expertise within the group has also presented new opportunities, both locally and globally. This has enabled World Net Logistics to expand into new sectors such as pharmaceuticals, as well as to tender for international business where owning a global network is a pre-condition.

“We have been able to combine the best of both worlds: to invigorate the differentiators for which we are known, as well as to leverage the strengths of the Rhenus Group,”

concludes Goedhart.

“Our focus remains simple: to bring tailor-made solutions specific to our clients’ needs’ whilst offering the benefits of a multinational company.”

World Net Logistics will be undergoing a name change and re-branding to Rhenus before the end of 2020.

Dirk Goedhart – CEO of World Net Logistics
Dirk Goedhart – CEO of World Net Logistics


Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa