Profit fell at Kuehne + Nagel's road and rail logistics division in the first half of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012, although it predicted a stronger second half-year performance.

The division pulled back strongly in the second quarter from an 85% first-quarter drop in EBITDA caused by adverse weather.

For the two quarters as a whole, the group said it increased full and part load volumes and kept gross profit in the division stable, although EBITDA for the division came in below last year’s figure.

Karl Gernandt, acting CEO of K+N, said: “In particular the results achieved in the second quarter 2013 underline the fact that the measurements introduced to improve efficiency on a group-wide level are effective.

"Although we do not anticipate a significant stimulation of global trade in the second half of the year, we will continue to focus on profitable growth,” he added.

K+N predicted that growth in sectors including pharmaceutical, high-tech, automotive and industrial goods, together with better margins would enable the road and rail division to continue improving its financial performance in the second half of 2013.

Group EBITDA rose to CHF466m (£327.5m) from CHF389m (including exceptional items) while sales grew 3.3% to CHF10,394m.

By Andrew Stone.