Home » 3PL/4PL, Breaking News » Panalpina’s profit nosedives in wake of weak airfreight

Swiss logistics giant Panalpina reported consolidated profit of CHF4.1 million (US$5.2 million) for the third quarter of 2012, down from the CHF31.7 million it earned for the same period a year ago, saying the weak performance of its airfreight division obliterated the profit posted by the logistics and ocean freight units.

“There was light and shadow in the third quarter of 2012,” said CEO Monika Ribar. “On the one hand, ocean freight continued with historic record volumes and our investments into logistics have clearly started to pay off as more and more customers entrust us with value-added logistics services. On the other hand, our performance in airfreight was disappointing.”

The Swiss forwarder’s net forwarding revenue in the third quarter of 2012 went up by 10 percent year-on-year to CHF1.72 billion, with the Americas recording quarterly gross profit  of CHF119 million, the highest in this region in almost four years. Gross profit in Asia-Pacific decreased year-on-year to CHF78 million due to declining exports to Europe.

Ocean freight posted the highest quarterly and year-to-date volumes ever in the group’s history. For the first time, Panalpina forwarded more than one million TEUs (20-foot-equivalent units) in the first nine months of the year. Volumes in the third quarter were up by 5 percent compared to the previous year. Gross profit per TEU of ocean freight increased by 6 percent year-on-year and improved quarter-on-quarter as the carriers’ rate increases were passed on to customers in the third quarter.

The airfreight division booked a volume decline of 8 percent compared to the previous year, as Europe-related trade lanes performed poorly and a trend towards smaller shipments emerged. Gross profit in airfreight amounted to CHF158 million in quarter three, down 4 percent from a year ago.

Panalpina expects the airfreight market to contract by 3 percent to 4 percent for the whole year and the ocean freight market to grow by 2 percent to 3 percent.

The company has appointed Lucas Kuehner as its new global head of air freight effective December 1, 2012. Kuehner, who joined the company 12 years ago and is currently Panalpina’s managing director in the U.S., will succeed Henrik Lund, who has left the company.


Photo courtesy of Panalpina

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