Kuehne + Nagel reported a 6.4% drop in air cargo volumes to 1.22 million tonnes despite increases of 4.4% in gross profit and 6.6% in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) in their third-quarter results.
The drop in overall volumes reflected the continued “tense market environment,” Kuehne + Nagel said. The company noted, however, that it saw growth in its pharma & healthcare, perishables and time-critical shipment sectors. EBIT for the air unit was down 3.0% compared to the same period last year, to US$263 million.
According to Kuehne + Nagel, the market-related volume decline in airfreight was offset by continued volume growth its seafreight and overland segments seen in the first half of the year.
The seafreight business saw a 7.3% growth in volume for the first nine months of 2019, reaching 3.67 million standard containers (TEU), or nearly 152,000 units more than in the same period in 2018. The increase produced EBIT of $357 million.
In terms of overland, Kuehne + Nagel saw a 2.0% net turnover increase and a 4.1% rise in gross profit, year-over-year, for the first three quarters of 2019. North America drove growth in the sector, while project business in Europe, especially in France and Germany remained strong. The company also noted it strengthened its overland transport network in Austria and Eastern Europe with the acquisition of the Jöbstl Group.
Meanwhile, Contract Logistics saw gross profits increase by 2.1%, y-o-y, during the first three quarters of the year, driven by pharma and healthcare business, as well as e-commerce fulfillment.