Japanese freight forwarder Kintetsu World Express plots its growth through the Marseille-Provence provence tarmac

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Japanese freight forwarder Kintetsu World Express plots its growth through the Marseille-Provence provence tarmac
KWE réalise 60% de ses opérations dans l’aérien
08 April 2021 / Grow your business, Logistics

Opening of a 5th agency in France at the Marseille-Provence airport

The Japanese company Kintetsu World Express (KWE) plans to ramp up its business in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. By opening its fifth agency in France in the freight zone of the Marseille-Provence airport, the freight forwarding and customs brokerage specialist also aims to expand into African markets by leveraging the air routes out of France's largest air freight hub outside Paris. Arnaud Monpert, CEO of the group's French subsidiary, laid out the company's road map from its new base in Provence.

In late 2019, Kintetsu World Express decided to set up operations at the Marseille-Provence airport to grow its air freight activity and consolidate its maritime positioning. This fifth branch, halfway between Marseille and the Port of Fos, is now home to the maritime freight forwarding department, which has been relocated from Roissy, where the Japanese leader in freight forwarding and customs brokerage has headquartered its French subsidiary since the 1990s. "We wanted to open an agency close to sea routes. It came down to Le Havre or Marseille. Given the market potential in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, the diversity of industry and our commitment to developing our business in North and West Africa, we opted for Marignane," explained Arnaud Monpert, CEO.

Operating out of the offices of ground handling company WFS, the branch employs six five people, half of whom were recruited from the local market with assistance from Pôle Emploi and Provence Promotion. The employees who agreed to leave Paris to settle down in Southeastern France are enjoying every minute of their new lives. "They live in an extraordinary place, which they and their families appreciate. It is a true delight to be on the seaboard and to have opportunities to discover the back country," adds Arnaud Monpert.

The South of France: a new playing field with business access to Africa  

In June 2021, a sales specialist with expertise in air and sea transport will join KWE Marseille to begin building out the client portfolio. "We already have key accounts in the South in the medical industry and in refrigeration equipment and boat engine manufacturing. We plan to go after the luxury recreation sector by positioning ourselves in spare parts imports and to intensify our aeronautics business," added the CEO, who also envisions a foray into logistics in the medium term.

The freight forwarder is known for its custom international transportation solutions, but it also deals in all-cargo aircraft charters ‒ a long-standing specialty at the Provence airport, especially for shipments destined for Algerian oil fields or made possible by contracts signed with Airbus Helicopters. KWE has high hopes for this Asia-Europe-Africa interface. "We import goods from Asia and we can reship them to the African market through Marseille-Provence. In China, we are the number one foreign freight forwarder and we can energize our network in Africa," Arnaud Monpert summed up. After a year of challenges, but ultimately of resilience thanks to the steady performance of freight levels, Kintetsu World Express aims to develop its international business and take part in trade shows and events put on by the economic development agency.

Kintetsu World Express employs a team of about 50 staff members in France, working at five branches: Roissy (head office), Marseille, Lyon, Mulhouse and Toulouse. The group is also powered by a European hub in Frankfurt. KWE's operational breakdown is 60% air freight and 40% sea freight.