K+N reports rapid airfreight growth boosted by acquisitions

Kuhne+Nagel (K+N) continued to report strong growth in its airfreight volumes during the first quarter of the year thanks in part to recent acquisitions.
The world’s number two airfreight forwarder saw first-quarter volumes increase by 21% year on year to 422,000 tons as a result of market growth and the integration of perishables forwarders Commodity Forwarders in the US and Trillvane in Kenya.
“Airfreight continued to build on its previous year’s outstanding performance, with solution-oriented, industry-specific offerings,” the company said.
To put the growth into context, the overall airfreight market is estimated to have grown by around 4-5% during the period and rival Panalpina saw air volumes grow by 3% in the quarter.
K+N said the acquisitions contributed 11.7% of the improvement with the rest down to organic growth.
The Switzerland-based forwarder said that, as well as perishables, pharma, healthcare, aerospace and e-commerce sectors all performed well, while the result was also helped by strong growth in North American exports and the launch of its new KN InteriorChain solution.
Financially, the forwarder’s airfreight business saw first-quarter revenues increase 23.2% year on year to Sfr1.3bn, earnings before interest and tax (ebit) were up 12.5% to Sfr81m and its ebit per 100kg was flat compared with the fourth quarter at 19%.
Overall, the company saw first-quarter revenues increase 13.1% to Sfr4.9bn, ebit improved by 12.9% to Sfr236m and earnings were up 11.5% Sfr184m.
K+N chief executive Detlef Trefzger said: “We have made a successful start into the business year and achieved clear increases in volume across all business units.
“Building on this growth combined with further productivity improvements we were able to considerably increase our results in the first quarter.
“At the start of the new year we implemented two new digital platforms globally, SeaExplorer and KN ESP, addressing specific customer requirements and creating significant efficiency gains.
“Another important milestone is the opening of two innovation centres where we we develop innovative solutions in contract logistics together with customers. We are determined to continue on this path.”
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