DHL Group’s revenue and operating profit declined in the first quarter of 2024 compared with that of 2023, but there was growth in the company’s Supply Chain division.

The logistics company generated €20.3 billion in revenue in the first quarter of this year, which was a 3.2% decline on the €20.9 billion posted in Q1 of 2023.

EBIT was also below figures posted last year, with €1.3 billion in Q1 2024 down 19.8% against the €1.6 billion posted for the same period in 2023.

DHL Group said current economic conditions were expected, and it did not anticipate a first-quarter upturn in the global economy.

“We are in an unusually long phase of low momentum in global trade,” DHL Group CEO Tobias Meyer said.

“In this environment, we continue to focus on consistent capacity and cost management. However, we also see further growth potential.

“The demand for omnishoring and e-commerce solutions remains high and our customers are becoming increasingly aware of sustainable logistics – we can clearly see this in the demand for GoGreen Plus.

“With our portfolio, we are ideally positioned to benefit from an upturn in global trade. Despite all the challenges, 2024 is a year of opportunities.”

At DHL Express, an expected weak demand led to a “slight decline” in shipment volumes, the parent company said.

Revenue in the Express division fell 4.4% to just over €6 billion in Q1 2024, while EBIT dropped 30% to €632 million.

“The division is countering the sluggish market environment with productivity improvements, network optimisations and effective yield and cost management,” DHL Group said.

DHL Global Forwarding saw a decline in revenue due to lower freight rates. The division’s revenue fell 15.8% to €4.6 billion in the first quarter, and its EBIT declined 32.4% to €263 million.

“The division once again recorded volume growth in air and ocean freight compared to the weak prior-year period,” the DHL Group said.

“Air freight volumes rose by 5.1%, with the improvement primarily attributable to trade routes between Asia and Europe.

“Ocean freight volumes increased 6.6% compared to the same quarter of the previous year, with the volume of trade routes from Asia increasing in particular.”

Results were brighter for DHL Supply Chain, which posted a stable revenue and earnings growth in Q1 2024. Revenue increased 5.5% year-on-year to €4.3 billion, while EBIT grew 12.8% to €256 million.

“The Supply Chain division recorded revenue growth in all regions and across various sectors, supported by new business wins, contract renewals and growing e-commerce business,” DHL Group said.

“Additional contracts with a volume of €3.5 billion were concluded in the first quarter of 2024. In addition to the energy, retail, life sciences and healthcare sectors, e-fulfillment solutions accounted for an important part of this.

“The annualised contract renewal rate remained at a consistently high level.”

And DHL’s eCommerce division posted an 8.5% revenue increase to €1.6 billion, and a 25.9% EBIT decline to €60 million. Its Post & Parcel Germany division saw revenue grow 1.6% to €4.3 billion, and its EBIT increase 40.6% to €194 million.

DHL Group expects more positive global economic momentum in the second half of 2024.

The group overall has confirmed its forecast for the 2024 fiscal year and expects EBIT of between €6 billion and €6.6 billion and free cash flow excluding acquisitions and divestments of around €3 billion.

In its medium-term forecast for 2026, DHL Group continues to expect operating profit of between €7.5 billion and €8.5 billion.