C.H. Robinson
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Company History

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In the late 1800s, just after the tracks for the transcontinental railroad were laid in North Dakota, Charles Henry Robinson packed up his family and moved to Grand Forks. He was a native of New York City, a former traveling salesman from St. Louis, and he saw that settlers in Dakota Territory would need merchandise, vegetables, and fruit. In 1905, he incorporated C.H. Robinson Company to answer that need. Robinson had been operating a wholesale brokerage house for several years, but his new business set out to address one of the most complex logistical problems of his time: how to transport and distribute perishable products before they spoiled, even when the best means of distribution was horse and buggy. And with that move, he set the tone for the company – hardworking, flexible, and service-oriented—for more than 100 years.

In fact, C.H. Robinson’s history closely parallels the history of transportation in the United States. We’ve seen it all – the introduction of the first non-ice-based refrigerated truck in 1939, the building of the interstate highway system starting in 1945, transportation deregulation in 1980. Each change has brought new ideas, new ways to better serve our customers and suppliers, and following the lead of our founder, we’ve seized those opportunities. We’ve stayed close to our customers and the market, meeting every challenge with innovation, employing the best technology and the most dedicated employees. Even though we’ve changed our name to C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. to reflect our global capabilities, we retain our focus on the customer and on service as we provide multimodal transportation and logistics around the globe.

Key Milestones:

1890
Charles and Ida Robinson move to North Dakota.

1896
Charles Robinson establishes a wholesale brokerage house in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

1905
Charles Robinson partners with Fred Parks Nash and Willis King Nash and incorporates C.H. Robinson company, a produce brokerage firm, in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

1909
Charles Robinson dies at the age of 52, leaving his widow, Ida, 25 shares of company stock worth $500.

1913
The Nash Brothers gain full control of C.H. Robinson Company by purchasing Ida Robinson’s stock. C.H. Robinson becomes the produce procurement arm for Nash Finch.

1919
C.H. Robinson Company and the Nash Brothers move their headquarters to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

1
923
Mutual Brokers is founded, giving Robinson and Nash Finch a presence in Canada.

1935
Motor Carrier Act and Interstate Commerce Commission exempt produce from transportation regulations.

1939
The first non-ice-based refrigeration units for trucks are developed by U.S. Thermo Control.

1941
Nash Finch begins selling Robinson stock to employees.

Ca. 1945
Robinson takes on produce transportation, primarily by rail, to complement its brokerage operations.

1945
The Federal Highway Act is enacted to develop an interstate highway system.

Ca. 1955
C.H. Robinson’s Omaha branch leads Robinson’s move into truck brokerage for exempt commodities.

1968
Robinson enters the regulated truck business as a contract carrier named Meat Packers Express in Omaha, Nebraska, and later forms an irregular route carrier, ROBCO Transportation, Inc.

1976
Robinson employees buy out Nash Finch’s shares of Robinson stock and the company becomes 100% employee owned.

1978
The Fresh 1® is first introduced, on green onions and greens from Davis Packing Company, a C.H. Robinson packing subsidiary in Phoenix, Arizona.

1979
Robinson adopts IBM mainframe technology, beginning a new era of centrally supported technology, electronic communications, and information sharing.

1980
Passage of the Motor Carrier Act deregulates truck transportation and allows Robinson to act as a freight contractor for virtually any type of product.

1983
Robinson acquires T-Chek Systems, a fuel card management company, to service the motor carrier industry.

1984
Robinson initiates its contract carrier program.

1986
ROBCO Transportation, Inc. is sold and Robinson is again a non-asset based third party provider.

1987
The C.H. Robinson branch network grows to 50 branches.

1988
C.H. Robinson enters the intermodal business.

1989
C.H. Robinson International, Inc. is formed, expanding Robinson’s services as a freight forwarder, NVOCC, and customs broker.

1990
C.H. Robinson begins providing air cargo services.

1992
C.H. Robinson attains $1 billion in gross revenues.

1993
C.H. Robinson establishes an initial presence in Europe through partial ownership of Transeco, a motor carrier in France.

1996
C.H. Robinson launches its first, proprietary PC-based truckload operating system, COSMOS.

1997
C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (CHRW) becomes a publicly traded company.

1998
CHRW acquires Preferred Translocation Systems, a non-asset based third party LTL company, and Comexter Group, a South American transportation and freight forwarding firm.

1998
CHRW launches a customer Web site, allowing customers the ability to monitor their shipments via track and trace technology.

1998
CHRW branch network grows to 100 branches.

1999
CHRW acquires Norminter S.A., a non-asset based third party based in Caen, France, with offices in France, Germany, Spain, and the U.K..

1999
CHRW acquires American Backhaulers, a non-asset based third party provider that supplies primarily over-the-road transportation services throughout the United States.

2000
CHRW launches its new contract carrier Web site, CHRWtrucks.com

2000
CHRW acquires Trans-Consolidated Inc., a third party, temperature controlled LTL provider.

2001
CHRW enhances its customer Web site, and names it CHRWonline.com

2002
CHRW branch network grows to 150 branches.

2003
CHRW expands its international freight forwarding network by opening an office in Hong Kong and acquiring Frank M. Viet GmbH Internationale Spedition, an international freight forwarding and third party logistics company based in Hamburg, Germany.

2004
CHRW acquires China-based Dalian Decheng Shipping Agency Co., establishing 7 new offices in mainland China.

2005
CHRW celebrates its 100th anniversary.

2005
CHRW acquires FoodSource, Inc., FoodSource Procurement LLC, and Epic Roots, Inc., which provide a variety of produce sourcing and distribution services including produce procurement, brand management, merchandising and transportation.

2005
CHRW acquires two international air and ocean freight forwarding companies: Hirdes Group Worldwide, based in Germany, and Bussini Transport S.r.l, based in Italy.

2006
CHRW branch network grows to over 200 branches.

2006
CHRW acquires Payne, Lynch & Associates, Inc (“Payne Lynch”), a non-asset based third party logistics company that specializes in flat bed and over dimensional freight brokerage.

2006
CHRW acquires Triune Freight Private Ltd. and Triune Logistics Private Ltd., a third party logistics provider based in India.

2007
CHRW continues to expand its global presence, opening an office in Singapore.

2007
CHRW acquires LXSI Services, Inc., a third party provider of domestic air and expedited services.

2007
CHRW celebrates its 10th anniversary as a publicly traded company. From 1997 – 2007, CHRW exceeded its long-term growth target of 15 % with average annual earnings per share growth of just under 23%.

2008
CHRW acquires Transera International, a project forwarding company based in Calgary, Canada.

2009
CHRW acquires Walker Logistics Overseas, LTD, a leading international freight forwarder headquartered in the United Kingdom.

2009
CHRW acquired certain assets of International Trade & Commerce, Inc., a customs brokerage company specializing in cross-border transportation, warehousing and distribution, headquartered in Texas.

2009
CHRW acquires two jointly-owned, produce companies based in Florida: Rosemont Farms Corporation, Inc, a produce marketing company, and Quality Logistics, LLC, a non-asset based logistics company that focuses on produce transportation.

2011
CHRW acquires Timco Worldwide, Inc. ("Timco"), a leader in the melon category headquartered in Davis, CA.

2011
CHRW achieves annual revenues of $10 billion.

2012
CHRW rings The NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell.

2012
CHRW acquires Apreo Logistics S.A. ("Apreo"), a leading freight forwarder based in Warsaw, Poland.

2012
CHRW acquires Phoenix International, Inc. ("Phoenix"), an international freight forwarder headquartered in Chicago, IL.

2012
CHRW introduces Navisphere®, the company’s proprietary single global technology platform.

2012
CHRW sells its payment services business, T-Chek Systems, Inc. (“T-Chek”), to Electronic Funds Source, LLC (“EFS”).