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De Keyser Thornton Group: Shipping and Logistics Done Right

Founded in 1853, De Keyser Thornton Group (DKT) is one of the world’s oldest and largest privately owned shipping agencies in Antwerp, which has seen expansions and acquisitions over the years to establish it as a leading shipping and logistics provider for the global maritime industry. Therefore, as a key member working across several worldwide networks, DKT continues to provide first-class services across the entire span of logistical activities.  

In 1948, DKT created a forwarding company called De Keyser Expeditions (DKE) which allowed it to offer its customers a wider range of transport-related services. The expansive reach of DKE saw it join the NAXCO Group in 2000, which is one of the largest fully integrated shipping and logistics providers in the world. Therefore, this strategic alliance allows the DKT Group to offer top-quality services to ports in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.   

Furthermore, in 2006 the DKT Group took over the operations and staff of SBTC-Sotramar, a renowned forwarder in Antwerp, which allowed the group to continue to expand its forwarding activities considerably. The resulting company was renamed Sotramar and De Keyser nv. and continued to specialize in project cargoes and chemicals. Then in 2014, the DKT Group acquired a significant shareholding in Das Logistics, which specialised in airfreight forwarding and is located at Brussels Airport. The acquisition reinforced DKT’s span in the forwarding industry through the highly skilled Airfreight subsidiary. In the same year, DKT joined with Allseas Global Logistics from the UK to form DKT Allseas Shipping Ltd (DKA). This strategic partnership allowed DKT Group’s operations to span further across the globe as DKA is the exclusive shipping agent in the UK and Ireland for The Shipping Corporation of India.  

Whilst the core of DKT-group’s business is in liner agency, its expansive partnerships and acquisitions mean it today can offer a wide range of transport, shipping, chartering, management, forwarding, warehousing, logistics, trucking, and intermodal transport services across the expansive shipping industry. However, this expansive network and the company’s continued success towards profitable development is largely attributed to the highly skilled and experienced staff working across the company. Accompanied by state-of-the-art computer systems, DKT can face all the challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s shipping and logistics services to provide its customers with consistent high-quality services and top-quality solutions. It is the fully integrated services that the DKT-Group can offer which has established it as one the largest privately owned shipping agencies in Antwerp.  

Due to the expansive and reliable reputation of the DKT Group, it is a member of many worldwide organisations, including the NAXCO Port Agency Network and Global Alliance Corporation (GAL). Consequently, as a member of organisations across the span of shipping from port authorities to forwarding enterprises, DKT is part of an expansive network across the word that spreads and unites the industry for the betterment of shipping services, whilst providing companies, such as DKT, with a reputation for quality and reliability that the memberships promote.  

Included under the DKT-Group is De Keyser Thornton NAXCO Belgium nv., which contains a multitude of shipping lines. These lines partner with DKT NAXCO Belgium to continue to develop shipping services across the world under the world-class services of DKT. These lines include The Shipping Corporation of India, Empros Lines, United Africa Feeder Lines (UAFL), AAL (Austral Asia Line), and Soreidom and Caribbean Line. Furthermore, in 2021, the DKT NAXO Group became the new agent for Arkas Lines, which brought further shipping connections for DKT with Belgium and the Netherlands. The DKT Group also owns Unamar (United Antwerp Maritime Agencies) and Trimar, which it acquired in 2006, and are two liner agencies from Antwerp which have a worldwide reputation for excellence and allowed the company to expand its coverage to ports on a global scale. The Unamar shipping lines under DKT include the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) and Maritime Transport Lines and Services (MTLS).  

A key sector of DKT’s development is its forwarding services, which the company began with De Keyser Expeditions. Created as a subsidiary of the larger De Keyser Thornton, the company took over SBTC Sotramar, which under the name of Sotramar and De Keyser brought together two reputable companies which combined had a strong workforce of roughly 30 who collectively formed one company to provide an expansive range of logistical services across the industry. The division oversees the transportation of general cargo, bulk cargo, full container load (FCL) and consolidation containers by sea. The company is also responsible for logistical movements by rail, road, or inland waterways, representing how the expansive company has divisions and key experience across worldwide and local cross-trade links.  

Furthermore, DKT has divisions working towards customs clearance, and port handling – including loading and discharging trucks/containers, as well as a fully developed warehouse facility which acts as storage and a distribution facility for all kinds of cargo coming in and out of ports. Consequently, the ensure plan of cargo transportation, handling and logistics movement is covered by DKT through the rapidly expanding NEXCO Group which sees it lead the global industry for logistical solutions.  

Alongside the services provided to cargo entering countries by land via trucks or trains, they also work with airfreight and ports to maintain a seamless flow between cargo and its customer’s needs. Additionally, to help maintain smooth operations at ports, DKT offers a range of liner, tramping and husbandry services to keep ports uncongested and cargo moving freely and profitably.  

Ultimately, De Keyser Thornton is an expansive logistical company which has strategically acquired key companies across the industry to fully evolve their logistics operations to receive, handle and transport cargo coming from the sea, air, road, and train lines to deliver efficient and trustworthy cargo lines that are reputable across the world. Consequently, DKT continues to lead the logistical industry and continues to evolve as a cornerstone of shipping needs for companies, customers and clients alike worldwide.