Bonn : The world's largest airfreight forwarder DHL Global Forwarding saw airfreight revenues and volumes decline last year, but gross profit improved.
The DHL Global Forwarding, Freight division saw total airfreight volumes for 2019 decline by 4.6 per cent year on year to two million tonnes, while revenues were down 3.1 per cent to EUR 4.8 bn.
However, gross profit improved by 0.7 per cent on 2018 levels to EUR 949 m last year.
The decline in air revenues and volumes reflects a downturn in the overall airfreight market last year, which IATA figures show declined by 3.3 per cent in 2019.
Overall revenues for the division improved by 1 per cent to EUR 15.1bn and earnings before interest and tax (ebit) increased by 17.8 per cent year on year to EUR 521 m.
"Despite the (air) volume decline, gross profit from airfreight increased slightly thanks to better margins," the company said. "Our industrial project business performed significantly better than in the previous year."
Looking at the overall Deutsche Post DHL business, group revenue was up 2.9 per cent year on year to EUR 63.3 bn, with all five divisions contributing to this positive performance. Ebit improved by 30.6 per cent to EUR 4.1 bn - a new record.
Frank Appel, Chief Executive, Deutsche Post DHL said, "We succeeded in growing further in all areas and generating record earnings despite the challenging global economic environment in 2019. Of course, we cannot disconnect completely from the global economy."
"We will not remain entirely unaffected by this worldwide crisis. However, it is currently much too early to judge its financial impact."
"In spite of this, we are forging ahead with our Strategy 2025 and putting the company on track to continue our profitable growth in 2020 and beyond," he added.
In early March, the company said it expected to take a EUR 70 m hit on its operating profits in February as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.