Global freight forwarder Kuehne+Nage (K+N) reported an "outstanding" 2017 for airfreight as it saw tonnages surge by 20.4%, growing twice as fast as the overall market which was already at the highest peak since 2010.
Announcing its 2017 full year results, the Switzerland-based logistics giant stated: "K+N’s industry-specific airfreight solutions, for example for the pharma and healthcare or the aerospace sectors, generated significant growth.
"The company strengthened its leading global market position in perishables logistics with the acquisition and integration of two national market leaders in Kenya and the US. Strong volume growth in combination with strict cost control and higher productivity resulted in an increase in EBIT by 5.0 percent. With 30.2%, the conversion rate remained at the previous year’s high level."
In seafreight, K+N increased volumes by 7.5% and "further extended" its market share. The company handled 4.4m TEU, about 300,000 more than in the previous year, however the growth in volume and productivity "did not fully compensate for the margin pressure". EBIT declined by 7% in comparison to the previous year.
The K+N Group achieved a net turnover of SFr18.6bn in 2017, an increase of 12.5% compared to the previous year. This was due to rate increases in sea and airfreight and strong volume growth across all business units.
Net turnover increased by 14.2% in the Americas, by 12.9% in Asia-Pacific and by 11.8% in EMEA.
Gross profit, which is seen as the better performance indicator for a logistics company than turnover, was at SFr7bn, 7.2% higher than in the previous year. Gross profit improved by 9.1% in the Americas, by 6.8% in Asia-Pacific and by 6.8% in EMEA.
Detlef Trefzger, chief executive of K+N International, said: “The consistent implementation of our business strategies resulted in strong volume growth and a clear increase in gross profit. Once again, our integrated business model has shown its strength.
"The effects of difficult market conditions in one business unit were more than compensated by increased profitability in the other divisions. With our digital solutions we further increased efficiency and improved customer value at the same time.
"Highlights from the past business year include the seamless integration of four acquisitions which strengthen our leading position in perishables as well as pharma and healthcare logistics. Our new strategic programme is setting the course for the future success of our Group with technology- and data-based solutions."