Company History

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.