During the first nine months of the year, Swiss logistics company Kuehne + Nagel (K+N) saw its airfreight volumes rise by more than 180,000 tonnes for an increase of 19 percent. Most of K+N’s growth was driven by specialized cargo including pharmaceutical, high-tech, automotive and perishables.
The logistics company has been quick to integrate its perishables acquisitions into its overall operations as a means of increasing its specialized cargo operations. For example, after acquiring Kenyan perishables specialist Trillvane Ltd in July, it took K+N less than two months to integrate Trillvane’s operations into its own network.
Despite pressure on margins with strong recent demand for airfreight, cost control measures and productivity increases achieved via process automation kept K+N’s financial results up. K+N also attributed its 2017 growth to strong exports from Europe and Asia. The company reported earnings before income and taxes of CHF227 million (US$233 million) for its airfreight sector through September of 2017, up 3.2 percent from the same period in 2016.
K+N has been actively pursuing new partnerships and acquisitions this year, particularly in pharma and perishables, as seen in the pharma logistics contract it sealed last month with life-sciences company Sanofi and a partnership with Nestlé – Netherlands announced in July and scheduled to begin in 2018, among other deals.