Kuehne+Nagel's start to the 2021 business year was marked by a strong demand in transport services, especially for pharma and e-commerce fulfilment. Kuehne+Nagel achieved an excellent result in this environment: net turnover of over CHF 6.0 billion, EBIT of CHF 431 million and earnings for the period of CHF 318 million were all significantly higher year-on-year.
Dr. Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, says: "Exactly one year ago, when we were still at the beginning of the pandemic, we decided to commit to our proven strategy. 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."
The positive profit trend reversal in Sea Logistics, already noted in the second half of 2020, continued in the first quarter of 2021. Kuehne+Nagel delivered intensified service to meet exceedingly high customer demands particularly in the US, in an environment of limited container capacities, reduced terminal productivity and increasing demand. 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 TEU, despite a decline in recyclables demand. The unit’s net turnover was nearly CHF 2.4 billion and EBIT CHF 206 million. The conversion rate reached a record high of 42.7%.
With a new alert feature in the online Seaexplorer platform, Sea Logistics customers are informed promptly about irregularities in container transport. This transparency proved particularly helpful to remedy disrupted supply chains during the Suez Canal incident in March.
Air Logistics saw a return to trade volume growth in the first quarter of 2021, the first time in more than two years. This was contrasted by limited global freight capacities. Kuehne+Nagel's expertise in dealing with this bottleneck was particularly crucial for the transport of pharma and essential goods.
Airfreight volumes developed positively, reaching 433,000 tonnes in the first quarter of 2021 (16% year-on-year). Combined with strong yields, net turnover improved to CHF 1.7 billion and EBIT to CHF 163 million. The conversion rate was 40.5%.
Further progress was made in the digitalisation and automation of Air Logistics processes (eTouch). This development was particularly advanced in the booking processes, invoicing and documentation.
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