Rhenus creates Australian arm on O’Brien buy

By: Rob McKay

German firm uses O’Brien Customs and Forwarding to forge local arm

Rhenus creates Australian arm on O’Brien buy
Rhenus is buying O'Brien Customs and Forwarding


International logistics giant Rhenus Group aims to create a local logistics presence based on its O’Brien Customs and Forwarding purchase.

Rhenus is a German-headquartered company ultimately owned by conglomerate Rethmann and part of its operating firm, Remondis, which has had a presence in Australia since 1982 focuses on waste handling.

Rhenus, itself  a family business of 100 years’ standing,  says a sale agreement the family-owned O’Brien business to form Rhenus Logistics Australia was signed on June 16 but did not disclose for what sum.

O’Brien, headquartered in the suburb of North Melbourne, is a family business handles air and sea freight consignments and provides customs and warehouse services.

It was initially founded as a pure customs clearance firm by Jan and Shane O’Brien in 1996 and has offered air and sea freight transportation in addition to customs services for seven years.

Rhenus plans to expand the firm’s current operations in future with its network and its services. They include, for example, domestic traffic, support for imports/exports, buyers’ consolidation as well as warehouse and integrated logistics solutions.

"The takeover of O’Brien and the founding of the national company to be known as Rhenus Logistics Australia enable us to cover the whole of Australia with our services ," Rhenus ocean freight Asia chief operating officer Jan Harnisch says.

"As a result of the acquisition, we’re gaining experienced employees with local expertise for the global operations of the Air & Ocean business unit at Rhenus Freight Logistics, too."

It is understood it will be business as usual with not personnel changes in Australia.

The creation of Rhenus’ Australian operations is part of its Asia-Pacific expansion strategy.

Rhenus plans to open a number of new business sites this year in this area, including centres in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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