The company was founded initially as a forwarding commission agency in Bremen, Germany, by August Kühne and Friedrich Nagel in 1890. The company has since grown to become one of the third-party logistics providers in the world. In 2016, it was the second leading third-party logistics provider worldwide, based on gross logistics revenue. As of 2016, Kuehne + Nagel’s total assets stood at around 6.3 billion Swiss francs while its worldwide revenue for that same year amounted to around 20 billion Swiss Francs. As of 2016, the company had a total of over 70,000 full-time employees worldwide.
In 2017, Kuehne + Nagel was rated as the third leading company in the shipping industry in the world, based on sales alone. Dr. Detlef A. Trefzger has been the Chief Executive Officer of the company since August 15, 2013.