Oct 19, 2018: The Kuehne + Nagel Group significantly increased EBIT and earnings for the period in the first nine months of 2018. The company achieved strong volume growth, with a particularly dynamic development in sea freight.

Kuehne + Nagel Group

January to September 2018

January to September 2017


CHF million
Net turnover 15,361 13,525 +13.6%
Gross profit 5,736 5,136 +11.7%
Operational result (EBITDA) 906 840 +7.9%
EBIT 745 685 +8.8%
Earnings for the period 580 540 +7.4%

Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International AG said, “Kuehne + Nagel has continued its dynamic performance from the first half of the year into the third quarter and achieved a very positive result for the first nine months of 2018. The performance in the business unit sea freight, airfreight and overland is remarkable. In contract logistics, results are as expected negatively affected by investments in the operation platform, which have been realised according to plan in this year. Based on the very good results of the first nine months, we expect this year to close successfully.”

Sea freight

In sea freight, Kuehne + Nagel increased the volume by 8.8 percent and thus grew twice as fast as market. In the first nine months of the year the company shipped 3.519 million standard containers (TEU), 284,000 more than in the same period of the previous year. A substantial amount of new business was gained with digital end-to-end solutions, with high demand on the market for the two digital platforms KN ESP and Sea Explorer, launched in 2018. EBIT for the first nine months of the year was up 5.2 percent at CHF 324 million with stable margins. The conversion rate of 29.0 percent remains a leading mark in the industry.

Air freight

Air freight stayed enroute for success in the first nine months of 2018 and continued its strong performance from the previous quarters. Tonnage increased by 16.0 percent to 1,302 million tonnes, therewith well above market growth with major contributions from industry-specific end-to-end solutions. With the recent acquisition of Panatlantic’s business, a perishables airfreight specialist in Ecuador, Kuehne + Nagel continues to strengthen its network in this segment after successfully completing the integration of CFI Commodity Forwarders, the leading perishables provider in the USA. EBIT was up 19.4 percent against the same period of the previous year at CHF 271 million. The conversion rate remained high at 30.3 percent.


Success continued in Kuehne + Nagel overland with a net turnover growth of 16.2 percent compared with the same period of the previous year whilst gross profit increased by 15.6 percent. EBIT improved 58.3 percent over the previous year to CHF 57 million. This strong performance was driven by the US intermodal business, benefiting from the increase in oil prices, and dynamic business development in Europe, particularly in Germany and the UK.

Contract logistics

Growth in contract logistics was well above the market with net turnover increasing by 10.6 percent and gross profit by 10.7 percent. Business performance developed well in North America, Asia and Germany and with e-commerce fulfilment solutions. Results are negatively affected by investments in the operation platform, which have been made according to plan in this year. At CHF 93 million EBIT was as expected below the previous year’s level. Key milestones in contract logistics were reached with the successful launch of a new digital warehouse management system and leading digital end-to-end solutions. Furthermore, Kuehne + Nagel agreed on the acquisition of a Chinese automotive logistics group and a local Indonesian logistics company.

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