A 6.2% increase in seafreight container volumes has boosted first quarter business for international logistics provider Kuehne + Nagel.

But the same could not be said for air freight, however, with K + N reporting a 3.1% slump compared with the same quarter in 2018.

“In seafreight, K + N continued to strengthen its position as the global market leader with 6.2% growth in volume,” a K + N market statement read.

“The group managed the transport of 1.146m standard containers (TEU) in its networks – thus almost 70,000 units more than in the previous year’s period.”

Imports from North American and European markets to Asia were said to have fallen slightly (down 2% to 3%) to 409,000 tonnes, reflecting import restrictions on recycled materials and agricultural products.

According to information released to the market, K+N increased net turnover, gross profit and earnings before interest and tax (which increased 2.5%).

“In seafreight, EBIT expanded significantly and in overland operating results increased substantially,” the company said in its market statement.

The overland business was reported to have continued to grow, with a net turnover increase by 6% and gross profit by 8% in the first quarter.

K + N chief executive Dr Detlef Trefzger said the company got off to a “good start” in 2019.

“Once again, we increased our net turnover, gross profit and EBIT,” Dr Trefzger said.

“However, we find ourselves in an environment in which global economic growth is noticeably slowing.”

Nonetheless, Dr Trefzger said they were well positioned to handle the volatile market.

“Consistent with our business strategy, we focus on introducing new digital platforms and highly specialised industry solutions,” he said.

“For 2019, we plan to remain on course to grow as a group and further increase our results.”