The Grindrod Group of companies has been a household name in shipping and logistics for the past one hundred years. Our story began in 1911 when Mr. Leon Renaud and Captain John Edward Grindrod purchased a 150-ton steamer as she lay disabled on the Durban breakwater.

Re-floated and re-equipped, the Frontier began trading to Port St Johns and East London; carrying sugar, oil, timber, hides, wool and, occasionally, livestock.

Their company, at the time called the SS Frontier Co., was the predecessor to founding company Unicorn Shipping, which later became the Grindrod Group.

The business is all about moving cargo seamlessly from point of departure to final destination, by providing customers with simple and convenient solutions to complex operational exercises.

The Grindrod Group is traded on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and offers a worldwide range of quality shipping, trading, financial and freight services by land, air and sea.

The group’s head office is in Durban, South Africa, and is represented by subsidiaries, joint ventures and associated companies in 24 countries.

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Group Structure

The Grindrod Limited Group consists of the following divisions:

Grindrod’s modern fleet of dry cargo vessels, product and chemical tankers trade globally under the banners of Island View Shipping and Unicorn Shipping.

Freight Services encompass a major share of the local ships agency business, sea freight and land freight logistics. The land-based operations in Southern Africa are focused on dry and liquid bulk terminals, intermodal solutions, rail, port operations and all facets of traditional and specialised logistics.

The trading division trades in agricultural products, industrial raw materials and marine fuels and lubricants.

Grindrod Bank is positioned to provide tailored financial solutions to corporate and private clients.

Grindrod Intermodal

To be a dominant and profitable service provider to the containerised freight industry in Southern Africa, focusing on infrastructure, product and service development.

To be the first choice service provider to the containerised freight industry and develop sustainable partnerships with all associated stakeholders by:

  • Understanding their needs and expectations,
  • Delivering a service package characterised by exceptional quality, integrity and innovation.


Grindrod Intermodal is a consolidation of four successful companies, namely: Cross Country Containers, CMC Grindrod, Grindrod J&J Logistics, and Unitainer. Thus the history of Grindrod Intermodal is composed from the histories of these four entities.

Cross Country Containers was established in February 1989 by Richard Foulds and Grant Wells as an independent landside transport operator. Initially Cross Country Containers consisted of offices in Durban and Johannesburg and employed 20 staff members. Over the next seven years the company experienced steady growth and expanded its presence in other major centres. The tragic death of Grant Wells in February 1997 was a difficult time for the organisation, but with the appointment of directors Yan Nair and Tracy Short, Cross Country found its way forward into the millennium.

In early 2000, P&O Nedlloyd, a customer of Cross Country Containers, purchased the 37% shareholding held by the Grant Wells Family Trust. This saw extensive support of Cross Country Containers and the organisation expanded beyond the borders of South Africa, establishing offices in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Swaziland.

P&O Nedlloyd then set out to acquire the remainder of the shares; during 2004 they purchased the 25% held by Viamax Logistics (Pty) and in 2005 purchased the 37% held by Richard Foulds, making Cross Country Containers a wholly owned subsidiary of P&O Nedlloyd.

During 2006, the AP Moeller Group acquired the full freight and landside businesses of P&O Nedlloyd on a global basis and, accordingly, Cross Country Containers became the wholly owned subsidiary of Maersk Line in South Africa. Following discussions between the directors of Cross Country Containers and Maersk Line, it was recognised that the services offered by Cross Country Containers were directly aligned with other organisations within Maersk and, in the best interests of protecting the brand, a disposal strategy was pursued. Following the completion of all associated processes, the company was acquired by Grindrod Limited in January 2007.

CMC Grindrod began trading in 1992, with one depot situated at Edwin Swales Drive in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Owned by Richard Foulds, and originally named Confreight Cargo Management Centre, the depot at Edwin Swales Drive offered a warehouse facility with a bond store. Within a short period of time, Confreight Cargo Management Centre established a second depot in Gauteng.

During 2001 discussions were entered into between Confreight Cargo management and Grindrod Container Services with a view to rationalising operations in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng and expanding in the Western and Eastern Cape to establish a national brand. A joint venture arrangement was entered into with Grindrod Container Services and the companies’ names were changed to CMC Grindrod to reflect this partnership.

As in the case of Cross Country Containers, with the acquisition of Richard Fould’s shareholding, P&O Nedlloyd ultimately acquired the other 50% interest in CMC Grindrod and, through the further acquisition of P&O Nedlloyd by Maersk Line, the 50% shareholding shifted to Maersk Line. This position was maintained until May 2007 when Grindrod Limited purchased the remaining 50% held by Maersk, hence CMC Grindrod became a wholly owned subsidiary of Grindrod Freight Investments.

The ownership of Grindrod J&J Logistics vested with Grindrod Freight Services and J&J Holdings, a 25.1% empowerment partner. The business specialised in general and bonded warehousing of cargo for bulk and containerised freight. During the first quarter of 2007, Grindrod Freight Investments acquired the empowerment shareholding; hence Grindrod J&J Logistics became a wholly owned subsidiary of Grindrod Freight Investments.

During 2007 Grindrod recognised the need to consolidate all companies that provided a common or complimentary service offering to the containerised freight industry.  Grindrod J&J Logistics was identified as the vehicle within which the acquisitions and disposals would be managed and set about splitting the business interests of Grindrod J&J Logistics into bulk and containers. This process led to the sale of the terminals division of Grindrod Terminals and the purchase of businesses Cross Country Containers and CMC Grindrod: the consolidated businesses were renamed Grindrod Intermodal.

In keeping with the principals of consolidating complimentary businesses, Unitainer, a division of Grindrod Ships Agencies, was acquired by Grindrod Intermodal in January 2008. This company specialises in container sales, leasing and conversion, in addition providing storage, cleaning services and pre-trip facilities for tank containers.

During 2008 Grindrod embarked on a process of introducing empowerment partners into certain Grindrod Freight Services businesses. This required Grindrod to effect certain legal restructuring in order for all the operations to be empowered into Grindrod (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, while those operations within Grindrod (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd not requiring empowerment could be restructured out of the company. Grindrod Intermodal (Pty) Limited therefore became a division of Grindrod (South Africa) (Pty) Limited, effective 1 November 2008.

A BBBEE transaction resulting in the sale of 25% plus one share of Grindrod Limited’s subsidiary, Grindrod (South Africa) (Pty) Limited, to Calulo Petrochemicals (Pty) Limited and the Adopt-a-School Foundation, was concluded in January 2009.

Grindrod (South Africa) (Pty) Limited now houses the majority of Grindrod’s South- African-based Freight Services operations, comprising the dry and liquid bulk terminal operations, durable goods, dry and liquid bulk transport operations, perishable cargo airfreight operations and Intermodal operations.

All these events reflect the birth and development of Grindrod as it presently stands. There is no question that further growth and development is imminent; it fits with our objective of being the leading service provider in the containerised freight industry.

Mr. Foulds retired in December 2007 after 19 years of dedicated service.