History

In 1945, Charles Kendall established the company that still bears his name. In the decades since, that company has become a group of partner companies, united by a dedication to service, quality and integrity.

Today, those decades of experience are at your service. From government and commercial procurement to export packing, freight, logistics and development aid consultancy, Charles Kendall is known worldwide as a name to trust.

Importantly, we’ve remained an independent, private, family-owned business. So while we may span the globe, and manage projects valued in the many millions, we’ve stayed true to the human values of service and partnership.

Taking great pride in being a people business we concentrate above all on the exact needs of our customers. With this philosophy we strive to build long lasting relationships and in many cases friendships.

Timeline

1940

  • 1945

    The original business, Charles Kendall & Partners, was formed in December 1945. Charles Kendall, a former Army Officer, set up an office in the elegant setting of Albert Court, Kensington, looking onto the Royal Albert Hall. Our global head office remains there still.

  • 1949

    In the late 1940s, we were appointed as procurement agents for Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and the Sultanate of Oman. Today, Charles Kendall Procurement (as it's now known), continues to act as trusted partner for government ministries and organisations in Oman.

1950

  • 1954

    Until 1954, the company employed independent freight agents to handle its Middle Eastern exports. But in that year, we formed our own Shipping and Forwarding Department – the forerunner of Charles Kendall Freight.

    The 1950s also saw our first move into export packing, with the acquisition of Giles & Downton Ltd, a packing case manufacturer originally established in 1918.

1960

  • 1969

    The mid to late ’60s saw us acquire two further packing businesses, and in 1969 we brought all these related companies together as Charles Kendall Export Services.

1970

  • 1970

    We continued to expand our freight capabilities through major senior management changes during the 1970s with further acquisitions of a growing number of established freight and logistics companies, with customers in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

1980

  • 1982

    In 1982, we combined our various transportation businesses together to form Charles Kendall Freight. Today, it is one of the world’s most respected names in freight and logistics, working closely alongside our packing specialists at Charles Kendall Packing.

  • 1985

    In 1985, we bought the Vairon Group, an international collection of export and freight businesses which included Carryfull Freight and A&I Travel – an in-house IATA-approved travel agent that became the forerunner of our specialist travel & events business, Exosphere.

1990

  • 1991

    In 1991, we bought the packing company, Bestworld Packing (now Charles Kendall Packing since 2010) – specialists in out-of-gauge bespoke packing, especially of very large equipment for heavy industry. Around two years later we bought our site at Heathrow (Feltham), now our primary packing site.

    In the early 90’s, dedicated Freight offices based in the Middle East were established.

  • 1997

    In 1997, having invested in building a team of development aid experts, we were appointed to five core country contracts for the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Since then, we have worked with all the world’s major bi-lateral development agencies, including the World Bank and European Commission. This experience was to form the foundations of a worldwide client base, and spurred our natural expansion into project management and consulting.

  • 1998

    In 1998, Charles Kendall Freight became a founding member of the WCA (World Cargo Alliance), the world’s largest and most powerful network of independent freight forwarders.

2000

  • 2000

    As the new millennium began, we focused on developing organic growth across the group. We opened new offices in the Far East, including Hong Kong and Shanghai.

  • 2004

    In 2004, Charles Kendall Procurement won major business in Iraq through the UK DFID and the US Government.

  • 2006

    In 2006, we re-branded our business travel operator as Exosphere, which today comprises two distinct divisions - Travel and Events. Exosphere creates bespoke experiences for individuals and businesses around the world.

  • 2009

    In 2009 we bought the exhibition logistics business, Show Carriage, who offer a complete supply chain solution for events and exhibitions around the world.

2010

  • 2010

    2010 heralded a new, unified corporate identity for the group with a major rebranding exercise to the logo you see today. Freight was awarded the coveted AEO Status. Since then, Freight has continued to grow with presence in New York, Guangzhou, Suzhou and Hamburg. Our Aid Consulting team won major reconstruction contracts in the South Pacific including Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

    In April 2010, Packing expanded their operations to Manchester, followed by the opening of a new facility alongside Freight in Southampton in Autumn 2014. They too gained AEO Status.

  • 2013

    In 2013, the first major Middle East acquisition was made with the addition of Ayezan E-Gistics LLC to the Freight division under the new combined brand name of Charles Kendall Ayezan (CKA). By the autumn of that year, global growth continued with our first acquisition in Australia - Project Procure PTY.

  • 2015

    Charles Kendall Australia formed from the acquisition of procurement agency Project Procure, subsequently expanding our reach in the Asia Pacific region. All divisions are ISO 9001 certified and we hold Investors in People status. Company celebrates 70th anniversary in November.

  • 2016

    Charles Kendall Event Logistics brand formed after merger of Show Carriage and BioLogistics services. Growth continues with new Freight offices opening in New Jersey and Rotterdam. Chairman John Kendall passes away.

  • 1940

  • 1950

  • 1960

  • 1970

  • 1980

  • 1990

  • 2000

  • 2010

History in images