LOGISTICS company Kuehne + Nagel has reported a sharp decline in first quarter volumes, compared with 2019, blamed on COVID-19 and currency fluctuations.

In sea logistics net turnover was down 6.9%, gross profit was down 9.9% and earnings before interest was down 29.5%.

K + N trades in Swiss Francs.

CEO Dr Detlef Trefzger said the coronavirus pandemic was “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,” Dr Trefzger said.

“In the case of basic commodities and pharmaceuticals, transport volumes were maintained at a respectable level,” he said.

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“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.”

In sea logistics, the company noted double-digit decline in volume demand to and from China.

On the other hand, reefer shipments and export volumes from Latin America (perishables in particular) developed well.

Even in the current environment, customer interest in CO2-neutral Sea Logistics solutions was reported to have remained high.

The business unit air logistics was said to have been particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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