In January 1986, Ratos purchased the company Nordisk Transport & Spedition, founded in 1919 with the business concept of consolidating freight on the railways. It was a market leader for international railway transports and was one of the larger firms for continental motor traffic. Nordisk Transport had regional offices throughout the country and a number of foreign offices. The number of employees totalled 1,100.
The reason Ratos acquired the company was that it was becoming increasingly commonplace for companies to contract out their transports to specialists. A consolidation within the transportation industry was occurring at the same time, where family-owned businesses, often specialised within a particular form of transport, were competing against large transport and shipping companies. There was also an increase in the international flow of goods, due in part to expanded cooperation within the EC/EU.
Ratos created the Inter Forward Group in January 1988, with the ambition of becoming Europe's most efficient company within the international shipping and transport operations. After three years, the Group encompassed some 70 companies in 14 countries. Over 60% of the approximately 5,000 employees were located within the European Community. Inter Forward was able to take total or partial responsibility for a transportation chain bud did not own, with a few exceptions, the means of transport.
According to the history that was created for Ratos 125th anniversary in 1991: ”It is only partially possible to portray Inter Forward. The company is currently in such a dynamic stage of development that information about its size and structure is outdated before it gets put down on paper”.