Kuehne + Nagel resilient in the face of crisis

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As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, business volumes declined sharply in the first quarter of 2020. Kuehne + Nagel Group’s net turnover, gross profit and earnings were significantly below last year’s levels. Furthermore, currency fluctuations had a significant negative impact.

Dr Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International, comments: “The coronavirus pandemic is an immense global challenge, also for Kuehne + Nagel. Industrial production and trade volumes weakened significantly. In this situation, Kuehne + Nagel maintained its operational performance, closely managed a number of specialty businesses and won new customers. In the case of basic commodities and pharmaceuticals, transport volumes were maintained at a respectable level. Our company will face major challenges in the coming months, but is well positioned in view of its customer proximity, agility and digital offerings. A high level of liquidity characterises the company’s solid financial strength.”

Since the beginning of March, Kuehne + Nagel has imported some 300 million face protection masks for its customers via airfreight from Asia.

The business unit Air Logistics was particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic from March onwards, when a large number of passenger flights were cancelled on the supply-side. Global airfreight capacity fell by around 60% in just a few weeks. On the demand side, the lockdowns in China, Europe and finally America led to a sharp drop in consumption resulting in lower airfreight volumes. In contrast, short-term charter solutions for pharma and time-critical transports were in greater demand.

At 372,000 tonnes, airfreight volume in the first quarter was 9% below the same period of the previous year. Less pronounced was the 6.8% decline in net turnover to CHF 1.1 billion and the 5.8% decline in gross profit to CHF 307 million. EBIT fell by 11.3% to CHF 71 million. Currency effects had a negative impact of 5.0% on both net turnover and EBIT.

Significant progress was made in the implementation of the Group’s own Transport Management Solution AirLOG and other digital platforms.