Panalpina has broken through the barrier of one million tonnes of airfreight for the first time in history though markets slowed later in the year.
Airfreight volumes increased by 4% from 995,900 tonnes in 2017, which was a record year, to 1,038,678 tonnes in 2018, with tonnage increasing with every quarter.
Gross profit per tonne was up 7% to 685 Swiss francs (CHF) though reported EBIT decreased slightly from CHF 110.3 million to CHF 108.2 million.
Panalpina attributes much of the success is due to the team negotiating earlier in the year with customers and carriers to secure capacity and agree on rates.
The Panalpina Charter Network also played a key role by providing charters on a scheduled or ad hoc basis.
The network was expanded in 2018 with a service between Querétaro in Mexico to Huntsville, and the first route for LATAM Cargo between Bogota and Huntsville.
The Perishables Network was expanded by acquiring Newport Cargo in Argentina and Skyservices in South Africa.
Panalpina focused on digitalisation and automation with the WebCargoNet online tool was introduced in 2017 being made available to all Panalpina airfreight locations.
Stefan Karlen, CEO of Panalpina says: “Airfreight growth rates were strongest in the first quarter of the year, but markets slowed down in the following quarters. The softer than expected peak season meant that we could not pass on the higher procurement costs to our customers. For the first time in our history, we broke through the one million tonne barrier, further strengthening our position as one of the world’s top air freight providers.”