Kuehne + Nagel boosted first quarter net income almost 18 percent from a year ago as it gained market share in all business units.
The Swiss global forwarder and logistics group earned $168 million in the three months to the end of March compared with $142.8 million in the same period in 2010 as revenue rose 4.7 percent to $5.25 billion.
Operating profit jumped 9.2 percent to $271.4 million from $248.5 million. Net income, revenue and operating profit soared 29.8 percent, 17 percent and 21 percent respectively after adjusting for the rise in the value of Swiss franc.
"As planned, we expanded our activities in all business units while at the same time increasing productivity," said Reinhard Lange, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International.
The company increased ocean container volume 14 percent, double the estimated 7 to 8 percent growth in the global market.
Container traffic grew fastest on trade lanes to and from Latin America and the Middle East, and the group increased volumes on intra-Asian and trans-Pacific routes.
The ocean unit boosted operating profit 15.5 percent to $122 million, and margins improved to 35.9 percent from 34 percent in the first quarter of 2010.
Kuehne + Nagel's air freight volume jumped 21 percent, outperforming the market, which is estimated to have grown between 6 and 7 percent.
The company's specialized perishables network drove the air freight expansion through acquisitions in South America.
Air cargo profit rose 28.6 percent to $68.7 million and the operating margin firmed to 32.3 percent from 28.7 percent.
The group also gained market share in the European overland transport market with revenue increasing 15.1 percent against market growth of 6 percent.
Contract logistics revenue rose 7.9 percent with new business contracts helping to reduce idle cargo space from 12 to 7 percent. The unit fell into the red in the quarter, however, due to start up costs for new projects.
"It is difficult to forecast the world economic development in the months to come," Lange said. But "we are confident that our resilient integrated business model will support the continuation of our strong performance."
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