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            march 25, 2019

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Panalpina profits soar 26pc as revenues rise 6pc


Swiss forwarding giant Panalpina's 2017 pre-tax profit soared 26.1 per cent year on year to CHF103 million (US$109 million), drawn on revenues of CHF5.5 billion, which increased 6.1 per cent, according to Shipping Gazette.
Revenues for the airfreight division were up 11.1 per cent to CHF2.9 billion and pre-tax profit increased 36.6 per cent to CHF110 million.
"The fact that all relevant economic indices are trending upwards makes us reasonably confident for 2018," said Panalpina CEO Stefan Karlen said.
Record-breaking full-year air cargo volumes increased in line with the market at eight per cent to 995,900 tonnes. Moves to secure air capacity early helped mitigate space shortages later, the company said.
But air freight gross profits per tonne fell one per cent with forwarders reporting a lag in passing on air freight price increases to customers earlier in the year.
DHL reported the same problem. The volume improvement also fell behind the 20.4 per cent increase reported by Kuehne + Nagel.
Said Mr Karlen: "2017 ended with record high volumes and profitability in air freight. We secured extra capacity early on in the year, well ahead of an 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 said.
"In ocean freight, we kept volumes stable throughout the year, but as margin pressure continued into the fourth quarter, a full-year loss resulted for that part of our business," Mr Karlen said.
"All in all, 2017 demonstrated Panalpina's robustness as we continued to go through a period of transformation and disciplined strategy execution," he said.
Last September Panalpina purchased Cool Chain Group in Germany and Interfresh Airfreight Handling in the Netherlands as well as being granted regulatory approval to take over Kenya's Air Connection.
This, Mr Karlen said, was part of a plan to "accelerate growth through selected bolt-on acquisitions", adding that the company would look to continue to develop such value-added services.
"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," he said.

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