Letter to our shareholders

Dear shareholders,

The financial year 2022 was an eventful and challenging one for Kuehne+Nagel, though it was also a highly successful year for us. While the start of 2022 was still dominated by Covid-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 fundamentally changed the view of world affairs. More than 500 of our Ukrainian employees were tragically impacted and our distribution centre in Hostomel in the Kyiv region was destroyed on the third day of the war. This moved Kuehne+Nagel to provide emergency aid in the amount of 10 million Swiss francs. We also became one of the first global companies to cease trading with Russia when we did so on March 1.

Though the quick withdrawal from Russia was by no means an easy decision, it did not require us to fundamentally adapt our business model. The bitter reality is that global trade continues to function even without Russia. The numerous lockdowns in China were in fact more impactful for global logistics in 2022. Our Sea and Air Logistics specialists were in particular demand since individual shipments often needed to be changed dozens of times before being delivered to customers.

Back at the start of 2022, we forecast that the strain across global supply chains would return to normal in the autumn. The worldwide decline in consumer demand starting halfway through the year, triggered by general uncertainty and fears of higher energy prices and inflation in particular, ultimately confirmed this outlook. Since Kuehne+Nagel has none of its own vessels or aircraft and works together with all carriers and airlines, we were able to adapt our offering to the new circumstances quickly and flexibly.

As a result, the Kuehne+Nagel Group performed extremely well in financial year 2022 and seized opportunities that arose amidst the extremely complex situation. In 2022, the company generated net turnover of 39.4 billion Swiss francs, more than ever before in the company’s history. At 3.8 billion francs, our operating profit (EBIT) also reached a new record high. The conversion rate, which describes EBIT as a percentage of gross profit, reached 33.9%, far surpassing the average goal set for the long term of over 16%. For the first time, Kuehne+Nagel also made the Fortune Global 500, a ranking of the top 500 listed companies in the world.

With more than 80,000 employees at 1,300 sites across all the continents, Kuehne+Nagel is the first port of call for Sea, Air, Road or Contract Logistics. All our business units played a part in our company’s success. The Sea Logistics business unit has been undisputed number one in oceanfreight for many years, handling an annual 4.4 million standard containers. The acquisition of Chinese airfreight service provider Apex International in 2021 allowed Kuehne+Nagel to handle over 2.2 million tons of airfreight in 2022 and enabled us to take the market lead in Air Logistics worldwide. The Road Logistics business unit recorded more than 24 million orders, offering its customers a high degree of flexibility and punctuality in Europe and the USA in particular. The Contract Logistics business unit executed more than 150 new logistics projects for customers in 2022 alone — often large-scale storage facilities with state-of-the-art technology and robotics.

The strategic Roadmap 2022 course initiated by Kuehne+Nagel’s Board of Directors five years ago was successfully concluded at the end of the year. We have been focusing very successfully since 2017 on the needs of our customers and those of the end consumers. This has enabled us to anticipate numerous trends and develop innovative logistics solutions. During the pandemic in particular, this strategy proved to be extremely resilient and successful. We significantly expanded our global presence, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, far surpassed our financial targets and delivered well above four billion Covid-19 vaccines around the world.

Financial year 2022 was then marked by change in our top management. August saw Dr. Detlef Trefzger hand over the reins after nine successful years of leading the company to Stefan Paul, who previously spearheaded the Road Logistics business unit for many years and additionally took over global sales in 2020. The change was in the spirit of continuity and had been announced a year ahead of time in November 2021. Stefan Paul is succeeded as Head of Road Logistics by Dr. Hansjörg Rodi, who was previously responsible for the Europe region. Chief Human Resources Officer Lothar Harings is set to retire in the middle of 2023 and Kuehne+Nagel’s Board of Directors has found his long-term successor in Sarah Kreienbühl, who headed human resources at Swiss retailer Migros until end of last year.

Dear shareholders and dear readers, we would like to thank you on behalf of the entire Board of Directors for placing your confidence in us this past year. Kuehne+Nagel is in very good shape, which we also want you to benefit from. For financial year 2022, we propose distribution of a dividend in the amount of 14.00 Swiss francs per share. As part of the Capital Markets Day on March 1, 2023, the Management is presenting the company’s strategic course for the next four years. Roadmap 2026 is based on the four cornerstones Kuehne+Nagel Experience, Digital Ecosystem, Living ESG and Market Potential. This will ensure that our company is able to continue to build its long-term success in the coming years and in the face of ever-challenging market conditions.

All of this is only possible with the help of our 80,000 colleagues worldwide who guarantee day-in day-out that our customers benefit from the best logistics solutions in the entire industry. Thank you!

Dr. Joerg Wolle
Chairman of the Board of Directors