Forwarders Jockey For Top Position

Swiss-based Panalpina reported strong growth in traffic volumes, in large part due to production relocation to Asia. This contributed to substantial growth in its core business functions: air forwarding, ocean forwarding and logistics.

In announcing gross revenues for its financial year 2004, Panalpina achieved growth of 13.6% in gross revenues and a 14.1% increase in net revenues. Consolidated net income was also up 14% to CHF 111 million ($90.2 million). Air freight tonnages rose 21%, as did ocean freight traffic. The company reported it handled 750,000 tonnes of air freight in 2004, making it the number two air forwarder in the world. It retained its number three position in ocean freight handling 824,200 twenty-foot-equivalent units during the period.

U.K.-based Transport Intelligence reported Panalpina’s management did not provide any update on plans to launch an initial stock offering on the Zurich stock exchange before Fall.

Facing a strong competitive challenge from the entry of what they termed “mega integrators,” Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Kintetsu World Express (KWE) announced the two companies had reached an agreement to launch a strategic alliance in their air forwarding, ocean forwarding and logistics businesses.

Integrators such as Deutsche Post World Net, FedEx and UPS are driving global alliances, according to the two companies, and it has responded by MOL agreeing to regard KWE as a major partner in air forwarding and KWE will do the same with MOL on ocean freight. Under the agreement, both will offer a wider range of services.

Both MOL and KWE are strategically focused on China. MOL offers liner services while KWE has an established logistics network in the country.

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