Today, Switzerland-based forwarding giant Kuehne + Nagel (K+N) released its first-half results for 2018, reporting an airfreight volume increase of 18 percent over 1H17 to 863,000 tonnes. Operating profit (EBIT) in the Airfreight segment increased 20 percent in the half to US$182 million.
Looking at the quarterly level, tonnage volume for Q1 increased by 21 percent to 422,000 tonnes year-over year, while Q2 increased 16 percent year-over-year to 441,000 tonnes.
K+N’s performance is on par with the only other major forwarder so far reporting first-half results; Panalpina also reported an airfreight EBIT increase of 20 percent for the same period this week.
CEO of K+N International AG Detlef Trefzger said the company “achieved strong volume growth across all business units.” Across modes, EBIT increased by about 11 percent, with the company citing increasing demand for transportation of pharmaceuticals and in e-commerce fulfillment.
K+N has been active in investing in technology and facilities in 2018. In March, it launched its own end-to-end supply chain management platform, KN ESP, to connect its network of shippers, vendors, buyers and sellers, while also providing digital access to its services.
Last month, the company released plans to invest in facilities at Budapest Airport (BUD), underpinning its appeal to pharma clients. BUD, located in heart of one of the world’s major pharma exporting regions, is currently gearing up to begin construction on its new dedicated freight center, “Cargo City,” which emphasizes the accommodation of cool-chain cargo.
Looking forward, trade strains from Brexit and Trump-era protectionist policies are on the forwarder’s radar. “We monitor the volatile markets and geopolitical developments very closely,” Trefzger said. “Despite this market environment, we are confident and ambitious as we enter the second half of the year.”