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    C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.

    14701 Charlson RdPhone: +1-952-937-8500
    Eden PrairieMNFax: +1-952-937-6714
    55347
    United StatesMap Map This Company
    http://www.chrobinson.comHoover's coverage by Adam Anderson

    History

    In the early 1900s Charles H. Robinson began a produce brokerage in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Robinson entered a partnership in 1905 with Nash Brothers, the leading wholesaler in North Dakota, and the company C.H. Robinson was born.

    Robinson became president but soon relinquished control under mysterious circumstances (rumor had it he ran off with Annie Oakley). H. B. Finch took charge, and by 1913 a new company, Nash Finch, became C.H. Robinson's sole owner.

    As a subsidiary, C.H. Robinson primarily procured produce for Nash Finch, which helped it expand into Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, and Wisconsin. To avoid FTC scrutiny over preferential treatment, Nash Finch split CHR in two: C.H. Robinson Co., owned by C.H. Robinson employees, which sold produce to Nash Finch warehouses; and C.H. Robinson, Inc., owned by Nash Finch.

    After WWII the interstate highway system and refrigerated trucks changed the industry. No longer dependent on railroads, C.H. Robinson began charging for truck brokerage of perishables. The two companies formed by the 1940s split reunited under the C.H. Robinson name in the mid-1960s; Nash Finch kept a 25% stake in the company and sold the rest to employees. Not surprisingly, Nash Finch wanted to divert C.H. Robinson profits to its other businesses, so in 1976 C.H. Robinson employees bought out Nash Finch.

    The next year D. R. "Sid" Verdoorn was named president and Looe Baker became chairman. They focused on increasing C.H. Robinson's data-processing capability and adding branch offices. In 1980 the Motor Carrier Act deregulated the transportation industry, and C.H. Robinson entered the freight-contracting business, acting as a middleman for all types of goods. The company grew rapidly, from about 30 offices in 1980 to more than 60 in 1990.

    As part of its overall effort to become a full-service provider, C.H. Robinson formed its Intermodal Division (more than one mode of transport) in 1988. It also established an information services division (1991) and bought fruit juice concentrate distributor Daystar International (1993). By this time the company was working with more than 14,000 shippers and moving more than 500,000 shipments a year.

    Meanwhile, C.H. Robinson had ventured overseas with the launch of its international division in 1989. It entered Mexico in 1990 and added airfreight operations and international freight forwarding through the 1992 purchase of C.S. Green International. In 1993 C.H. Robinson picked up a 30% stake in French motor carrier Transeco (acquiring the rest later) and opened offices in Mexico, Chile, and Venezuela.

    The company went public in 1997 and became C.H. Robinson Worldwide (CHRW). The next year Verdoorn, who was CEO, assumed the additional role of chairman. The following year the company acquired Argentina's Comexter transportation group to gain market share in South America, and it expanded its European operation in 1999 through the purchase of Norminter, a French third-party logistics provider. Much closer to home, CHRW bought Eden Prairie-based Preferred Translocation Systems, a logistics provider to LTL carriers, and Chicago-based transportation provider American Backhaulers.

    In 2000 CHRW partnered with PaperExchange.com, Inc., the global e-business marketplace for the pulp and paper industry, to provide an exclusive logistics service to PaperExchange.com members. CHRW continued to expand in 2002 with the purchase of Miami-based Smith Terminal Transportation Services. Verdoorn stepped down as CEO that year, and company president John Wiehoff was promoted to replace him. Verdoorn retired at the end of 2006, and Wiehoff succeeded him as chairman.

    The company acquired three US-based produce sourcing and marketing companies -- FoodSource, Inc., FoodSource Procurement, and Epic Roots -- in 2004 for a reported $270 million. That year CHRW added seven offices in China by acquiring a Dalian-based freight forwarder, and in 2005 it gained operations in Germany, Italy, and the US by buying two freight forwarding companies, Hirdes Group Worldwide and Bussini Transport. Also in 2005 CHRW bought US-based freight broker Payne, Lynch & Associates, as well as an India-based freight forwarder, Triune. The following year (2006) the company acquired US-based LXSI Services, a specialist in domestic airfreight and expedited ground transportation management that had gross revenue of about $25 million.

    In mid-2008 CHRW acquired Transera International Holdings, a project forwarding business based in Canada. Transera has office locations in Canada, Dubai, Singapore, and the US and has annual revenues of about $125 million.

    In 2009 the company purchased London-based Walker Logistics Overseas, an international freight forwarder, serving primarily the electronics, telecommunications, medical, sporting goods, and military industries. The acquisition expanded its capabilities in Asia-to-Europe trade and brought two key distribution gateways -- London and Amsterdam. CHRW then expanded its produce distribution business even further in 2009 by opening a European-based produce sourcing company in France, which will focus on bringing fresh produce from France, Italy, and Spain to North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Middle Eastern countries. That same year CHRW acquired certain assets of International Trade & Commerce (ITC), a US customs brokerage company that specializes in warehousing, distribution, and services between the US and Mexico. Also in 2009 the company bought Rosemont Farms, as well as Quality Logistics, which provides logistics for produce transportation; both companies are based in Florida.

    In 2010 CHRW expanded its transportation management services to India by building a new facility and control tower operations. The India-based facility was established to serve customers in South and Southeast Asia, as well as in Pakistan and the Middle East.

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