March 15 - In 2009, Basle-based global forwarder Panalpina transported lower volumes and generated a smaller gross profit compared to 2008, for a variety of reasons, including harsh economic environment and a very volatile market. Trade global volumes dro

Net forwarding revenue decreased by 32.9 percent , gross profit by 20.9 percent (16.9 percent in local currencies) and consolidated profit by 90.8 percent. Forwarding turnover fell to USD 6.9 billion in 2009, down from 2008's USD 10 billion. The company reacted early to the difficult situation, downsizing its cost base by 14 percent though subsequently over-achieved its cost reduction target.

"Last year could hardly have been a more turbulent and challenging year, both for the forwarding and logistics industry as well as for Panalpina", says CEO Monika Ribar. "Although we reacted quickly on the cost side and increased productivity, the measures taken could not compensate for the sharp fall in volumes and a rapid increase in buying rates in the second half of the year. However, we have taken appropriate actions on the procurement and sales side as well as on the organisational structure of the company which will positively influence our performance in 2010. We are confident to grow at least at market level this year."

Overall, Panalpina transported 731,000 tonnes of air freight (-19 percent compared to 2008) and 1,103,000 teu in oceanfreight (-14 percent). On some trade lanes the development of capacity and the volatility of freight rates were underestimated. The company suffered due to its relatively high proportion of business with large companies which have reduced trade volumes considerably in 2009. Some business was also lost as a consequence of the ongoing FCPA investigation by the US Department of Justice.