Freight forwarder K+N sets the pace as air volumes soar

Freight forwarder Kuehne+Nagel (K+N) saw airfreight volumes grow at almost double the market rate during the first half of the year, with performance improving during the second quarter.
The Switzerland-headquartered freight forwarder saw first-half airfreight demand increase by 18% year on year to 731,000 tons, while the overall market increased by around 10%. During the second quarter, demand increased by 20.9%.
K+N noted in the pharma, aerospace and perishables industries, while strong demand for industry specific solutions made a “significant contribution” to the improved figures. The company also noted strong exports from Europe and Asia.
First-half airfreight turnover increased by the lower amount of 13.7% year on year to Sfr2.2bn and earnings before interest and tax were up 2.7% on last year to Sfr151bn.
Profits in the first quarter and to a lesser extent the second quarter were affected by improvements in freight rates and the lag in passing these increases through to customers. Margin pressure is ongoing, the company said.
Overall, the company saw revenues increase 8.2% to Sfr8.8bn, earnings before interest declined by 0.6% to Sfr452m, and earnings were flat at Sfr356m.
K+N International chief executive Detlef Trefzger said: "The result of the first half of 2017 is a clear evidence of our growth-oriented business strategy as well as efficient cost management, which enabled us to counter the ongoing pressure on margins in seafreight and airfreight.
“The remarkable improvements of results in contract logistics and overland are mainly due to the successful implementation of our market strategies.
“During the second half of the year, we will continue to focus on volume growth, productivity increases and the scaling of industry-specific solutions.”
K+N International chairman of the board of directors Joerg Wolle added: "The half-year results of 2017 reflect the continuous strength of our Group which makes us confident for its further development despite that seafreight and airfreight markets can be expected to remain demanding and volatile.
“Kuehne + Nagel remains committed to its proven strategy and continues to invest in growing markets and industry segments. With acquisitions, as the ones announced today, we are ideally complementing our organic growth and strengthen our position in a still fragmented market.”
Earlier today, the company announced it had expanded its global perishables network with the acquisition of sector specialist forwarders Commodity Forwarders Inc in the US and Trillvane in Kenya.
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