SWITZERLAND-based global transport and logistics company Kuehne+Nagel has experienced strong demand for logistics services in line with the recovery of the global economy.

The group has delivered an outstanding financial performance in the first half of 2021, with all business units significantly exceeding prior year earnings.

At CHF 13.3bn (Swiss francs), the group’s net turnover for the first six months of 2021 was 35% higher than in the same period of last year while EBIT more than doubled to CHF 1.0bn.

Dr Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International said, “We expect demand to remain strong and look forward with confidence to continuing the positive development”.

In the second quarter of 2021, the trend towards transporting higher value products in sea logistics continued. This, coupled with limited container capacity and reduced productivity across the supply chain, required a high and sustained level of “service intensity”.

At 2.2m TEU, container volumes in the first half of 2021 were up 3% on the same period last year. The unit’s net turnover was CHF 5.2bn and EBIT was CHF 504m. The conversion rate again reached a new record level of 46.7%.

The online platform Seaexplorer with actual information on the transport situation proved to be particularly valuable for Kuehne+Nagel’s customers.

Despite global capacity constraints, air logistics recorded significant volume growth in the first half of 2021 thanks to tailor-made customer solutions such as combined sea and air freight. The business unit again recorded strong market share gains.

Transport solutions for pharma and essential goods as well as e-commerce were in particularly high demand.

From May onwards, the first-time consolidation of Apex also contributed to the overall result. Together, Kuehne+Nagel and Apex offer their customers a value proposition in the competitive Asian logistics industry, especially in e-commerce fulfilment, hi-tech and e-mobility.

Air freight volumes in the first half of 2021 were up 44% on the same period last year at 988,000 tonnes. Net turnover was CHF 4bn and EBIT was CHF 406m. The conversion rate was 42.3%.

The demand for ecologically-friendly solutions such as sustainable aviation fuel expanded sharply over the period. In response, Kuehne+Nagel entered into partnerships with American Airlines, IAG Cargo (British Airways) and Air France-KLM Martinair Cargo.


In road logistics, the first half of 2021 was characterised by a significant increase in the number of shipments, maximising network utilisation. Kuehne+Nagel continued to accept a rising number of customer orders in European less-than-truckload networks.

The business unit’s net turnover in the first half of 2021 was CHF 1.8bn and EBIT more than doubled to CHF 54m compared to the same period last year.

In Asia-Pacific, digital bookings via eTrucknow experienced strong growth. This platform is now available in 18 countries worldwide.

In the first half of 2021, contract logistics managed to expand its business with strong growth of pharma and e-commerce fulfilment solutions. These two segments alone accounted for approximately 80% of customer wins.

Due to the divestment of parts of the UK contract logistics portfolio in January 2021, net turnover of CHF 2.2bn in the first half of 2021 was slightly below the prior-year period. EBIT improved by 60% to CHF 72m.

Chairman of the board of directors, Dr Joerg Wolle, said, “Kuehne+Nagel closed the second quarter of 2021 with an absolute record result.

“This reflects the strategic course we have set and the initiatives we have taken in recent years, as well as our early and successful pursuit of digital leadership.

“The targeted expansion of our positions in Asia is increasingly paying off.”