Panalpina sees airfreight growth slow but profits takeoff

Freight forwarder Panalpina saw airfreight volume growth slow in the first quarter of the year, but profitability at the company was up.
The Switzerland freight forwarder saw first-quarter airfreight volumes increase by 3% year on year to 241,000 tonnes, behind an estimated market growth of around 5%.
The growth rate also lagged behind last year when the forwarder saw airfreight volumes improve by 8.1% year on year.
However, Panalpina did see airfreight earnings before interest and tax (ebit) for the quarter increase by 58.8% year on year to Sfr27m and its ebit/gross profit margin for its air business climbed to 15.1% against 11.8% for the same period last year.
Overall, the company saw total revenues for the first quarter increase by 10.7% to Sfr1.4bn, ebit climbed 48.8% to Sfr24.4m and profits were up 34.5% to Sfr16.6m.
“We’ve had an encouraging start into 2018. Profitability per transported unit increased in both air and ocean freight,” said Panalpina chief executive Stefan Karlen.
“In ocean freight we still recorded a loss, but it has come down from the last quarter of 2017. Logistics contributed to the good overall performance with a solid ebit result.”
Looking ahead, he added: “Global airfreight demand continues to be healthy and the carriers have begun to increase rates substantially.
“We will have to be very disciplined in passing these rate increases on as we head for a summer season that could be busier than usual again.
“In ocean freight, our immediate focus is clearly on improving profitability. In Logistics, we have made important investments that put us in a good position for top-line growth during the rest of the year.”
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