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For the perishables business Panalpina is establishing its own presence in South Africa: Cape Town from above (Photo by Sharon Ang, Pixabay)
For the perishables business Panalpina is establishing its own presence in South Africa: Cape Town from above (Photo by Sharon Ang, Pixabay)

Press release -

Panalpina Perishables Network expands to South Africa

Following last month’s acquisition in Argentina, Panalpina is now expanding its Perishables Network to South Africa. The international freight forwarding and logistics company is to acquire a majority stake in perishables specialist Skyservices. With the latest acquisition, Panalpina sets foot in a strategic market with its own presence in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The move will enable end-to-end solutions for perishables from South Africa to Europe, the Middle East, Far East and the USA.

Subject to conditions, Panalpina will acquire a majority stake in Skyservices, a South African company specialized in air freight perishables exports. The companies reached a respective agreement on July 16, 2018.

Skyservices is headquartered at Johannesburg airport and has a strong presence at Cape Town airport.

“The acquisition of Skyservices allows us to rapidly become a major player in South Africa’s perishables market. The majority of the company’s export volumes go to London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, where we have a strong perishables expertise and can therefore offer end-to-end solutions to customers,” says Stefan Karlen, CEO of Panalpina. “Given the strategic role that South Africa plays for the global trade of perishables today and tomorrow, it is only logical that we establish our own presence there and further strengthen the ever-growing Panalpina Perishables Network. Our non-perishables cargo into South Africa will continue to be handled by our agent Bidvest Panalpina.”

Perishables make up 40% of South Africa’s air freight exports. Top commodities are fresh cut flowers, subtropical and deciduous fruit, various specialist vegetables, berries, meat and fish. The most important destination countries served by Skyservices are the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, the UAE and USA.

“We have found an ideal partner in Panalpina to further grow our successful business and offer end-to-end solutions for perishables into Europe, but also the Middle East, Far East and USA,” says Bernd Julicher, managing director of Skyservices. “Panalpina’s global network and vast perishables expertise will also be invaluable for serving new and increasingly important destination markets like China.”

Skyservices started operations in May 2000 and is fully owned by Bernd Julicher, Frik van Rooyen and Jaco van Zijverden. Julicher will continue to lead the company’s 52 employees in Johannesburg and Cape Town as managing director. Skyservices runs a 2,000 m2 warehouse inside O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, and a purpose-built, new 1,700 m2 warehouse just outside Cape Town International Airport.

“Today is a day of celebration, and the beginning of an exciting journey. South Africa is a land of opportunity and we see a significant growth potential for perishables in this country, including in ocean freight,” comments Rafic Mecattaf, Panalpina’s regional CEO for the Middle East, Africa and the CIS.

The companies have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the deal.


A photo of Cape Town can be downloaded here.

Notes to the editor:

The worldwide transport of perishables constitutes a huge market where Panalpina is aiming to become the leader. By 2020 the company, under the umbrella of the Panalpina Perishables Network, aims to be the preferred global supplier of perishables logistics, offering customers in both origin and destination countries complete end-to-end solutions on a global scale. The success factors for this accelerated and concentrated push into perishables are the company’s global coverage, dedicated perishables experts in key markets, and the unique Panalpina Charter Network. The company’s perishables activities originated in Latin America and were then extended to Europe and Africa. The Panalpina Perishables Network currently spans 26 key countries.



About Panalpina

The Panalpina Group is one of the world's leading providers of supply chain solutions. The company combines its core products – Air Freight, Ocean Freight, and Logistics and Manufacturing – to deliver globally integrated, tailor-made end-to-end solutions for twelve core industries. Drawing on in-depth industry know-how and customized IT systems, Panalpina manages the needs of its customers' supply chains, no matter how demanding they might be. Energy and Project Solutions is a specialized service for the energy and capital projects sector. The Panalpina Group operates a global network with some 500 offices in around 70 countries, and it works with partner companies in another 100 countries. Panalpina employs approximately 14,000 people worldwide who deliver a comprehensive service to the highest quality standards – wherever and whenever.

Press contacts

Maiken Riise Andersen

Maiken Riise Andersen

Press contact Head of Corporate Communication +45 43 20 30 74
Christian Krogslund

Christian Krogslund

Press contact Senior Director, Corporate Marketing & Communication +45 28 44 22 35

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