Increases in container volumes and air freight activity lead Kuehne+Nagel to increased its first-quarter turnover by 5.4 percent, turning in revenue of CHF 5.09 billion ($5.5 billion).
Profit at the Swiss freight forwarder rose by 2.3 percent, year over year, and net earnings also increased.
Container volumes rose by 2.3 percent, year over year, despite a volume decline in trading from Europe to Asia. The Asia-to-Europe route showed moderate growth, while most every other trade lane showed increases in volume of between 5 percent and 10 percent, according to the company. The earnings-to-profit margin for K+N’s ocean business improved, and company officials see better numbers in the future.
Air freight volumes in the first quarter grew by 5 percent despite a general market decline of 2 percent. Activity grew on the strength of Asian export demand and moderate increases in European outbound cargo. The contract logistics portion of the business also improved thanks to restructuring measures. Net revenue grew by 2.5 percent, year over year.
K+N’s road and rail business saw a drop in earnings-before-tax of CHF 12 million, resulting in a low earnings margin of 0.3 percent. Despite these rail numbers, the business seems to be weathering the European storm quite successfully, according to officials.
“Particularly in view of the recessive economic situation in the euro zone, which also poses challenges for our company, we can be quite satisfied with the results of the first quarter 2013,” K+N’s Chairman Karl Gernandt said in a statement. “The measures introduced to increase efficiency and improve profitability are working effectively, underlined by the performance of the business units airfreight and contract logistics.”
Gernandt added the company will continue to strive for growth in margins and cost management. He sees the greatest potential for increased activity outside of Western Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North America. - Jon Ross