Announcing the logistics group’s Q3 results as a mixture of “light and shadow”, CEO Monika Ribar (pictured) said: “On the one hand, ocean freight continued with historic record volumes... on the other hand, our performance in air freight was disappointing.”
Iin its ocean freight sector, for the first time, Panalpina forwarded more than one million teu in the first nine months of the year, with volumes in the third quarter up by 5%, compared with the previous year, with gross profit per teu ahead by 6%.
Ribar added: “Costs must come down, and we have to do our homework in air freight.”
These negative areas resulted in the Swiss forwarder posting a Q3 ebitda down from Sfr54.2 million (US$57.9m) to Sfr18.1 million, and at the three-quarter stage, an ebitda of Sfr26.9 million compared with Sfr163.6 million for the same period in 2011.
The new Global Head of Air Freight, from 1 December, will be the group’s current US MD, Lucas Kuehner, who succeeds Henrik Lund, who has left the company.
In Q3, Panalpina’s air freight division saw volumes fall 8%, double the market average, on the previous year.
Europe-related trade lanes were hit hardest, with customers in hi-tech, telecoms and chemicals shipping significantly less by air.
Various new business wins led to a strong gross profit growth in the logistics division, where gross profit increased by 23%, year on year, in Q3 to reache Sfr100 million. The gross profit margin in logistics exceeded 44% for the first time in the group’s history.
Panalpina forecasts the air freight market to contract by 3-4% for the full-year 2012, while in ocean freight, market growth of 2-3% is expected.