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Kuehne+Nagel reports strong Q1 earnings

  • High demand for sea and air logistics services, especially for pharma and e-commerce fulfillment
  • Net turnover was over CHF6.0 billion (US$6.5 billion) in the first quarter, up 22.8% year-on-year
  • EBIT was CHF431 million, up 134.2%, while earnings for the period reached CHF318 million, higher by 128.8%
  • Container volumes were up 2% year-on-year at 1.1 million TEUs; airfreight volumes reached 433,000 tonnes (up 16% year-on-year)

Logistics company Kuehne+Nagel reported significantly higher earnings in the first quarter of 2021 year-on-year due to strong demand for transport services, especially for pharma and e-commerce fulfilment.

Kuehne+Nagel in a release said its net turnover in the first quarter was over CHF6.0 billion (US$6.5 billion), up 22.8% compared to the first three months of last year.

EBIT was CHF431 million, up 134.2%, while earnings for the period reached CHF318 million, higher by 128.8% compared to the period January-March 2020.

For its sea logistics business, net turnover was nearly CHF2.4 billion, a 38.8% growth, and EBIT was CHF206 million, higher by 160.8%. Growth rode on high customer demands particularly in the US, “in an environment of limited container capacities, reduced terminal productivity and increasing demand,” said the company.

Volume growth was particularly strong in the consumer goods segment. Container volumes in the first quarter of 2021 were up 2% year-on-year at 1.1 million TEUs, despite a decline in recyclables demand.

Air logistics saw a return to trade volume growth in the first quarter of 2021, the first time in more than two years. Combined with strong yields, net turnover improved to CHF1.7 billion, a growth of 51.2%, and EBIT rose to CHF163 million, an increase of 129.6%.

Airfreight volumes reached 433,000 tonnes in the first quarter of 2021 (up 16% year-on-year) despite limited global freight capacities, as Kuehne+Nagel dealt with bottlenecks to successfully transport pharma and essential goods.

In road logistics, the unit’s net turnover of CHF870 million in the first quarter of 2021 was at the previous year’s level; however, EBIT of CHF24 million improved by 41.2% year-on-year.

In the first quarter of 2021, contract logistics returned to organic growth of 4%, in line with the market. As a result of the divestment of part of the UK business as of January 1, 2021, turnover declined in the first quarter of 2021.

The unit’s net turnover of over CHF1.1 billion was 9.3% below the previous year; EBIT, however, increased by 123.5% to CHF38 million.

The pharma business and e-commerce fulfilment activities again had a positive impact. In March, the business unit entered into a strategic partnership with Jointown, the largest non-state pharmaceutical distributor in China.

Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne+Nagel International AG, said they chose to stay committed to their proven strategy exactly a year ago when the pandemic was just beginning.

“Upon reflection, we are assured that we chose the correct path: in the first quarter of 2021, we were well-prepared to serve our customers’ robust demand for high quality logistics services despite the tense market environment. We expect this environment to remain challenging for the remainder of another atypical year.”

Photo from Kuehne + Nagel website

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