Panalpina reported its net revenues for 2003, saying the 5.7% increase would have looked more like 14.1% without the effects of currency fluctuations. The company further stated the "growth spurt" could be ascribed to booming business in Asia (especially China) where it increased gross profit by 13.7%. However, at the group level, ocean freight margins eroded because of a significant increase in freight rates that could not be passed on to customers. Both air freight and ocean freight increased in 2003. Airfreight tonnage rose to 620,000 metric tons. Container freight increased to 680,000 TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent units).
Panalpina said its expansion plans in the region include investments in China, where it will acquire an "A" license to operate a wholly owned subsidiary in Shanghai.