In the past two weeks, four of the top 20 freight forwarders, Kuehne+Nagel, DHL Global Forwarding, DSV Panalpina, and Geodis, reported a significant increase in profitability in the first half of 2021 compared to the year before COVID-19, predicting the growth of profits would stay constant until February 2022.
Without interference in Asian trade channels, freight forwarders significantly improved their performance in the first half of 2021. Due to the stable growth in unit profit of air and ocean freight:
Kuehne+Nagel reported a revenue of US$14.4 billion in the first half of 2021, a 25% YoY in 2019, and a net profit of US$830 million was twice that of 2019.
DSV Panalpina’s revenue in the first half of 2021 was US$11.4 billion, a 78% YoY in 2019, and its net profit of US$775 million was three times that of 2019, exceeding the profit in 2020.
Geodis’s revenue was US$5.78 billion, an increase of 20% over 2019, and its profit increases by 30% over the first half of 2019.
DHL Global Forwarding
DHL Global Forwarding’s EBIT increased 137% compared with 2019, reaching US$630 million.
According to the Chief Executive Officer from Kuehne+Nagel, the increase in profitability made up for the increase in unit costs in the first half of the year. “Obviously, the high earning yield implied the investment portfolio and product mix focusing on SMB are profitable…Marine logistics will generate higher margins than in previous years”, he said.
DSV Panalpina CEO Jens Bjorn Andersen said that higher freight rates “usually” mean higher yields, but he predicted that ocean freight rates would start to slow down before the end of 2021.
“When the earning yield reaches its peak ever, people tend to think the situation will last forever,” he said, “But l don’t think this is the way to run a company. You still need to be cautious about fluctuations in the market. Before the second quarter, our rates and yields were the highest, and now they are even higher. The question is, how long can we maintain the situation?”