AGRO Merchants acquires Baltic Sea port operation

July 04 , 2017

U.S.-headquartered cold storage and logistics provider AGRO Merchants is expanding eastward in Europe through the acquisition of Poland Services Transport – Logistyka (PSTL), representing a "significant entry for AGRO into a new market". 

The move gives the company a presence in the Port of Gdańsk, which is currently the fastest growing deep-sea terminal in Europe, and a major international logistics hub serving as key gateway for trade between the largest ports in Europe, Middle East and Africa. 

Established in 2007 as a transport service provider, PSTL quickly expanded into freight forwarding and customs clearance services, and in 2015 built a state-of-the-art 58,000 cubic meter frozen warehouse that is located less than a kilometre from the Gdańsk DCT terminal. 

In a release, AGRO highlighted Gdańsk's benefits from excellent road access to Central and Eastern Europe, and a recent expansion which doubled the port's container handling capacity.

The PSTL management team, led by industry leaders Slawomir and Krzysztof Samonek and Bart Mol, will continue to lead the current business and planned expansion initiatives.

"This acquisition reflects AGRO's commitment to grow our footprint in core import/export markets," said Jan Harthoorn, AGRO's vice president of strategic development for Europe.

"PSTL is a great fit for us in terms of culture, customer-focus and value-added services, plus we're adding a top-class management team. 

"Poland and Eastern Europe are very important geographies for AGRO, and this acquisition allows us to expand significantly our presence and services into this key market."

PSTL managing director Sławomir Samonek said emphasized a belief in the Polish market's great potential.

"Our company is young and combined with previous experiences and the AGRO team, this is a great step for us to grow further with our customers and offer end-to-end solutions," Samonek said.

"We have seen the Port of Gdansk expand immensely and we look forward to also expanding locally, nationally and internationally as part of the AGRO Merchants network."

AGRO's acquisition of PSTL fits into a broader investment strategy focused on key European trading hubs. In January 2017, the company celebrated the opening of a new 18,000-pallet-space facility in Rotterdam-Maasvlakte. 

This was followed up in February with the acquisitions of Frissul and Frigomato, which together are the leading cold storage operator in Portugal and a key part of the Iberian food supply chain.

Photo: Port of Gdansk. Courtesy of Martwa Wisła, via Wikimedia Commons

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