Freight Forwarders

Record year for both profitability and volumes at Panalpina

Panalpina has reported a record year for its air freight division in 2017 for both profitability and volumes.

The freight forwarder’s volumes increased eight per cent last year as it transported 995,900 tonnes, a record annual figure, and it was up on the 921,400 tonnes in 2017.

From January to December, gross profit, unit profitability and EBIT in air freight increased with every quarter. Compared to the same period of last year, gross profit per ton decreased one per cent to CHF 642 ($684), while overall gross profit increased to CHF 639.4 million, up on the 2016 figure of CHF 595.2 million.

Reported EBIT in air freight increased from CHF 80.8 million (adjusted 2016: CHF 93.5 million) to CHF 110.3 million. The EBIT-to-gross-profit margin came in at 17.3 per cent compared to 13.6 per cent (adjusted 2016: 15.7 per cent) a year before.

Panalpina’s overall reported EBIT increased from CHF 82 million (adjusted for restructuring costs 2016: CHF 109.9 million) to CHF 103.3 million and the reported consolidated profit increased from CHF 52.3 million (adjusted 2016: CHF 80.2 million) to CHF 57.5 million.

In local currencies, reported EBIT and consolidated profit in 2017 reached CHF 106 million and CHF 60 million, respectively.

Panalpina chief executive officer, Stefan Karlen said: “2017 ended with record high volumes and profitability in air freight. We secured extra capacity early on in the year, well ahead of the exceptionally strong peak season when global capacity became scarce. Consequently, we were able to serve our customers in a very challenging market where others failed.”

He added: “All in all, 2017 demonstrated Panalpina’s robustness as we continued to go through a period of transformation and disciplined strategy execution.”

As for the future, Karlen said: “The fact that all relevant economic indices are trending upwards makes us reasonably confident for 2018. We have made solid progress in air freight and reached a good cruising altitude on which we can build and that will allow us to reach the targeted conversion ratio in due course.

“In ocean freight, we know what needs to be done to make it into calmer waters again and in logistics, the focus remains on top-line growth by further expanding our offering of value-added services.”

Last month, arch rival Kuehne + Nagel reported that its air freight volumes had soared 20.4 per cent to 1.57 million tonnes.