AN 18% fall in turnover and a 28% drop in EBITDA year-on-year for the first quarter has not stopped Khuene+Nagel International CEO Stefan Paul describing the result as ‘solid’.

The Swiss 3PL said the start of the business year 2024 was characterised by a slightly improving demand trend for transportation services in Sea and Air Logistics. Kuehne+Nagel Group’s net turnover in the first quarter of 2024 amounted to 5.5 billion CHF (Swiss francs) (US$6 billion), with an EBIT of CHF 376 million and earnings before minorities of CHF 278 million. The results were lower overall and impacted by negative exchange rate effects of 3% relative to the prior year, the company said.

The conversion rate, which describes the ratio of EBIT to gross profit for the group, stood at 18% in the first quarter of 2024, significantly higher than the pre-Covid value of 12% in the first quarter of 2019. Overall, the figures are above the corresponding pre-pandemic levels, K+N said.

Across the divisions, Sea Logistics turnover fell 28% and gross profit 27%; Air Logistics turnover dropped 15% and gross profit 20%; Road Logistics turnover slipped 10% and gross profit 7%; and Contract Logistics turnover declined 10% and gross profit 2%.

Mr Paul said K+N’s focus on efficiency and streamlined structures allowed it to reduce costs per unit by 12% in Sea Logistics and 14% in Air Logistics.  “By discontinuing the regional structure, we have laid the foundations for further growth and enabled more direct access to our customers worldwide. Additionally, we have strengthened our offering for our South East Asia customers through our strategic acquisition of City Zone Express, a Penang, Malaysia-based Road Logistics service provider,” he said.