Kuehne+Nagel successfully navigates crisis in 2020
The year 2020 was characterised by a weak first and a strong second semester. Kuehne+Nagel achieved a remarkably good result in an environment marked by crisis. Operational profit was above the previous year; total reported net earnings of the year decreased only slightly compared to 2019.
Net turnover of CHF 20.4 billion for the full year 2020 was below the 2019 figure due to lower volumes in the first half; EBIT, on the other hand, was almost one percentage point higher at CHF 1.1 billion. Currency fluctuations had a significant negative effect of -6 per cent on both net turnover and EBIT. Free cash flow increased by 27.7 per cent.
Dr. Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, says, "Last year, we proved what makes Kuehne+Nagel successful: within a very short period of time, we adapted to the volatile market environment. We won new business and at the same time were able to position ourselves as a reliable and responsible partner for our customers and suppliers."
Reliable partner for vaccine logistics
Kuehne+Nagel provides tailor-made services for the worldwide distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. The focus on logistics services for the pharmaceutical industry, which has been in place for some time, is proving its value. Today, Kuehne+Nagel has 240 certified locations worldwide and employs more than 3,000 pharma logistics specialists. Kuehne+Nagel, for example, is the partner of Moderna for Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and parts of the Americas. The company is also involved in the last-mile distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, including in Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, and in the Swiss canton of Zurich.
The profit development of Sea Logistics recorded a very pleasing turnaround in the second half of 2020 compared to the first half of the year. Particularly in the fourth quarter, the improvement was due to the renewed increase in demand from customers in the SME sector as well as the increase in imports from Asia to Europe and North America – an extension of trends which first emerged in the third quarter.
The container volume in 2020 was 4.5 million TEU. The business unit's net turnover was CHF 7.1 billion and EBIT CHF 423 million. The conversion rate reached 29.9 per cent. In Sea Logistics, the offer to neutralise the CO2 emissions of shipments was well received by customers. In addition, the online platform Seaexplorer was further developed: it now offers details on the CO2 emissions of every service and port pair.
Air Logistics has proven to be the preferred transport solution in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. The high demand for Kuehne+Nagel's expertise in pharma and essential goods led to excellent results.
For the full year 2020, net turnover for the business unit improved by 11.6 per cent to CHF 5.2 billion and EBIT by 53.5 per cent to CHF 505 million. The conversion rate reached 37.9 per cent. Overall, 2020 airfreight volumes were 1.4 million tonnes (12.8 per cent below the previous year) and in the fourth quarter alone 392,000 tonnes or 7.5 per cent below the same period last year.
With its Net Zero Carbon programme, Kuehne+Nagel is a pioneer in climate-friendly logistics services. For shipments flown on the air freight route Los Angeles – Amsterdam, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) has been used exclusively since January 2021.
In Road Logistics, the fourth quarter of 2020 was characterised by a significant increase in number of shipments compared to the previous quarter. In particular, demand for domestic transport in Europe reached pre-crisis levels. In North America, demand for all product segments, with the exception of pharma & healthcare as well as e-commerce, remained significantly behind the previous year. However, a further market recovery was noticeable in the last quarter.
The business unit's net turnover in 2020 was CHF 3.2 billion and EBIT CHF 62 million.
The digital platform Your Easy Brexit Solution, developed by Kuehne+Nagel, enables the uninterrupted shipment of goods to and from the UK. With this digital solution, Kuehne+Nagel customers can handle customs processes automatically, including document verification before the physical transport of goods.
Contract Logistics achieved market share gains in pharma and healthcare and in e-commerce fulfilment as well as productivity gains. In 2020, the business unit's net turnover reached CHF 4.9 billion and EBIT of CHF 80 million. Adjusted for extraordinary effects in 2019 and 2020, EBIT decreased by 7.6 per cent. Integrated Logistics services (4PL) were in particularly high demand in 2020. At eight global locations with KN Control Towers, specialists develop and operate solutions for flexible and efficient supply chains. This enables costs, throughput times and customers' inventories to be optimised even in volatile times.
Dr. Joerg Wolle, chairman of the Board of Directors of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, says, "We were able to close the year 2020 with a record operating result – this shows the strength and resilience of our company. Kuehne+Nagel stands for entrepreneurial vision, dynamism and a highly motivated team who is fully committed to serving our customers and business partners. With the successful completion of the restructuring of Contract Logistics, we are now ideally equipped for continued positive development. In view of Asia being the world's fastest growing economic region, the announcement of the acquisition of Apex Logistics in February 2021 is a significant milestone. The Board of Directors looks forward to the year 2021 with confidence."