Kuehne + Nagel felt the benefit of its acquisition of RH Freight last year as turnover in its road and rail division rose 18% during the first quarter of 2012.

The logistics giant says that it made “good progress” in its European road freight operations with volumes up in its groupage and full and part loads businesses. EBITDA increased 7.7% in Q1, equating to a profit margin of 1.9% - “stable” year-on-year, according to the firm.

Overall, including K+N air freight, sea freight and contract logistics, turnover for Q1 2012 was flat at CHF4.8bn (£3.3bn).  EBITDA fell 12.4% to CHF218m, however the firm had to pay a one-off EU anti-trust fine of CHF153m leading to net earnings of CHF68m.

Reinhard Lange, chief executive of K+N, says: “Our investments in growth initiatives resulted in considerable cost increases. We will counteract this trend with strict cost control and measures to improve productivity. Furthermore, profit margins declined in sea and airfreight.

“ In addition, there are one-off charges due to a high antitrust fine. Nevertheless, we achieved growth above market average,” he adds.

  • In March, the European Commission fined 14 groups in the global freight forwarding sector a total of €169m for taking part in four distinct price-fixing cartels between 2002 and 2007. They included Kuehne + Nagel, as well as Ceva Freight, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics,  Schenker, DSV, and UPS. Deutsche Post, along with its subsidiaries DHL and Exel, was also involved but received immunity as the whistleblower.