Fast growing.



Performance has been outstanding in airfreight: Whilst global market growth in 2017 was about 10 per cent, the highest increase since 2010, Kuehne + Nagel raised tonnage by 20.4 per cent to 1.57 million tons and doubling market growth. In addition to the above-average volume increase, strict cost control and productivity gains through process automation ensured that airfreight continued to make a major contribution to Kuehne + Nagel’s business success in 2017. The conversion rate, the EBIT-to-gross-profit margin, was at 30.2 per cent, EBIT increased by 5.0 per cent: a clear proof that the business unit’s strategic focus is correct. At the same time, the market environment was challenging, with increased pressure on margins caused by capacity shortfalls, imbalanced traffic on many routes and a significant increase in freight rates, particularly in the second half of the year.


In logistics, innovation is a key driver for any company’s success. At Kuehne + Nagel innovation has always been on top of the agenda, and this is also true for the airfreight business unit. Many of the innovations introduced in 2017 set industry standards. Kuehne + Nagel became the world’s first company to be given International Air Transport Association (IATA) CEIV Pharma certification for its entire KN PharmaChain air network. This confirms that Kuehne + Nagel meets the pharma industry’s high requirements and legal regulations at 88 locations on its airfreight network.

“2017 was a success for airfreight. We will build on this by maintaining our strategy of offering innovative products and increasing efficiency driven by process automation. The focus will continue to be on our customers’ current and future requirements.”

Yngve Ruud, Airfreight

The company also strengthened its position in other areas. With the acquisition of the Kenyan Trillvane Ltd and CFI Commodity Forwarders Inc., USA, two national market leaders belong to the Kuehne + Nagel Group, expanding its leading position in perishables logistics. KN BatteryChain is the first integrated logistics solution to cover the entire life cycle of lithium batteries. 


Continuous process optimisation is a crucial part of the Kuehne + Nagel’s airfreight strategy. Following the worldwide rollout of the AirLOG Import software, aimed at achieving efficiency increases, the module for export has also been implemented in over thirty countries in 2017. Although high-performance digital solutions are increasingly important in airfreight, it remains a people’s business. Some 6,700 specialists around the world are developing tailor-made solutions for companies of any size. The combination of customer proximity and innovation has been an important factor in gaining many business wins and extending current contracts. With new product offerings and investments in the expansion of efficient IT systems, the company is best placed to strengthen its leading position in airfreight.


in CHF million 2017 2016 2015
Turnover 4,759 3,935 4,014
Gross profit 1,036 964 904
EBITDA 333 315 286
EBIT 313 298 265
EBIT in % of gross profit 30.2 30.9 29.3
Tons in 1,000 1,570 1,304 1,250
Number of operating staff 6,693 5,734 5,563