Leading global ocean freight forwarder Kuehne + Nagel (K+N) today reported a substantial increase in earnings for the first nine months despite lacklustre cargo volumes and heightened exchange rate volatility.
The Swiss-based group’s gross profit (turnover less duties, carrier rates, and surcharges) dropped by 1.9% to CHF4,609 million (USD4,794 million) due to the depreciation of important billing currencies such as the euro and British pound versus the Swiss franc. However, its operating profit improved by more than 5% to CHF640 million.
The group’s ocean freight business contributed CHF335 million in operating profits, which was 12% higher than in the corresponding period last year.
Although K+N shed some market share, with a 1.1% decline in overall teu booking volumes to 2.85 million teu year to date, the financial impact was more than offset by an increase in gross profit margins per teu.
Both the appreciation of the US dollar versus the Swiss franc and the rapid fall in carrier freight rates in recent months should have bolstered its CHF/teu margin.
As far as cargo volumes are concerned, K+N said volume gains on US inbound routes helped compensate for losses on Asia-Europe routes.
Chief executive officer Detlef Trefzger declared that innovative logistics solutions and strict cost management allowed the group to ramp up its profits under challenging market conditions. The nine-month performance confirmed K+N’s strategy and that the group is “on the right track”, according to Trefzger.