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Global News Forwarders raked in record revenues in 2022 despite H2 demand collapse

Registration dateAPR 12, 2023

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology EditorMar 31, 2023, 9:00 AM EDT
Articles reproduced by permission of Journal of Commerce.

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor
Mar 31, 2023, 9:00 AM EDT
Articles reproduced by permission of Journal of Commerce.

Forwarders raked in record revenues in 2022 despite H2 demand collapse Forty-four of the 50 largest global 3PLs increased their annual revenues in 2022, with 32 raising their topline by double-digit percentages.

A challenging demand environment in the latter months of 2022 did little to dent the fortunes of the world’s largest global third-party logistics providers (3PLs), which increased their combined revenue 13.8 percent to a record $612 billion for the full year, according to the Journal of Commerce’s annual Top 50 Global 3PL rankings, prepared by SJ Consulting Group.

Only six of the world’s 50 largest 3PLs saw their revenue recede in 2022, and nearly two-thirds of the companies on the list grew their revenue by double-digit percentages, including each of the top five providers — Amazon, Kuehne + Nagel (K+N), DHL, DSV, and DB Schenker. That’s despite global freight demand and spot rates tumbling from their historic highs to end the year at or near pre-pandemic levels.

The healthy revenue growth — with 16 of the top 50 reporting increases of more than 20 percent and four recording 40 percent-plus gains — resulted from a still-robust ocean and air freight market in the first half of the year. Some companies, such as Maersk and Uber Freight, grew their topline revenue on the back of acquisitions made in 2021 and 2022, while others, including K+N and Bolloré, did so via significantly improved revenue per shipment.

K+N increased revenue by nearly 25 percent in 2022, thanks to “historically high” revenue per container, said Satish Jindel, president of Pittsburgh-based SJ Consulting. Bolloré leveraged rate increases in freight forwarding and sustained volumes in air transport to bolster its revenue by 36 percent in 2022, even faster than the 30.3 percent growth the company recorded in 2021.

On the other end of the spectrum, 2022 was a challenging year for Sinotrans, which saw by far the largest year-over-year decline in annual revenue on the list at 17.4 percent. Jindel attributed the drop primarily to Sinotrans’ massive presence in China, which was subject to chronic COVID-19 lockdowns for much of the year.

“The rates for ocean and air freight were changing rapidly during the later part of 2022, depending on the trade lanes and thereby varying levels of impact on different companies,” he said. “That’s in addition to the impact of the strong dollar on some overseas companies.”

The 2022 rankings are also tinged by merger and acquisition activity, both past and future. Gefco, for example, was absorbed by CMA CGM subsidiary CEVA Logistics, and BDP International was sold to terminal operator PSA International, while rumors persist that DB Schenker is up for sale. JOC Top 50 Global Third-Party Logistics Providers (3PLs) Revenue figures in millions of US dollars
JOC Top 50 Global Third-Party Logistics Providers (3PLs)
2022 rank Company Base Country 2021 revenue 2022 revenue YOY % Growth Comments
1 Amazon Logistics USA $103,366 $117,716 13.9% Revenues for Fulfillment by Amazon service
2 Kuehne + Nagel Switzerland $40,147 $50,097 24.8% Revenue per container was at a historically high level
3 DHL Germany $43,394 $49,047 13%
4 DSV Panalpina Denmark $28,983 $33,298 14.9%
5 DB Schenker Germany $25,467 $29,711 13.7%
6 C. H. Robinson USA $22,047 $23,516 6.7%
7 Nippon Express Japan $19,864 $19,779 -0.4%
8 Expeditors International USA $16,524 $17,071 3.3%
9 UPS USA $17,429 $16,431 -5.7% Declined due to elimination of freight services and lower freight forwarding revenue
10 Sinotrans China $19,273 $15,928 -17.4% Includes rail freight forwarding, most of the decline in 2022 relates to work stoppage in China
11 Maersk Denmark $9,830 $14,423 46.7% Acquired several companies (Pilot Air Freight, Visible SCM, Huub, Performance Team, B2C and LF Logistics)
12 J. B. Hunt USA $11,372 $13,732 20.8%
13 Kerry Logistics Hong Kong $10,209 $12,268 20.2%
14 CEVA Logistics (div of CMA) Switzerland $10,903 $12,000 10.1% As of Jan 2023, Gefco #26 was merged into Ceva
15 Bolloré France $8,648 $11,761 36.0% rate increases in freight forwarding and sustained volumes in air transport
16 Uber Freight /Transplace USA $6,643 $9,499 43.0% From acquistion of Transplace and Scan Data
17 SNCF Geodis France $7,601 $9,060 19.2%
18 GXO Logistics USA $7,940 $8,993 13.3%
19 TQL USA $7,844 $8,848 12.8%
20 Samsung SDS South Korea $6,982 $8,719 24.9%
21 Dachser Germany $7,465 $8,144 9.1%
22 Kintetsu World Express Japan $5,502 $8,011 45.6% Largely from huge increase in rates for air and ocean containers
23 NYK Group Japan $6,226 $7,883 26.6%
24 XPO Logistics USA $7,944 $7,718 -2.8%
25 Rhenus & Co. Germany $6,522 $7,360 12.8%
26 Gefco France $5,651 $6,020 6.5% Acquired by CMA in July 2022 and mergered w CEVA in January 2023
27 BDP International USA $4,640 $5,600 20.7% Sold to PSA International in late 2022
28 Shopify Canada $4,612 $5,581 21.0%
29 Hub Group USA $4,232 $5,332 26.0%
30 Worldwide Express/GlobalTranz USA $4,600 $5,040 9.6%
31 Ryder USA $3,155 $4,720 49.6% Acquired Whiplash and Dotcom Distribution in 2022 and includes full year revenue of Midwest Distribution acquired in Nov 2021
32 FedEx Supply Chain USA $4,054 $4,570 12.7%
33 Toll Group Australia $3,870 $4,524 16.9%
34 Echo Global Logistics USA $3,889 $4,400 9.3% Includes RoadTex - frozen LTL shipment light asset carrier
35 Hellman Worldwide Logistics Germany $3,886 $4,279 10.1%
36 Pantos South Korea $3,494 $3,924 12.3% based on LX internationals Logistics division 12.3% yoy increase
37 CJ Logistics South Korea $3,935 $3,920 -0.4%
38 Schneider National USA $3,229 $3,608 11.7% Acquired Midwest Logistics Systems (MLS)
39 MODE Transportation USA $2,800 $3,400 21.4%
40 Mainfreight New Zealand $2,265 $2,990 32.0%
41 Hitachi Transport Japan $2,671 $2,861 7.1%
42 NFI Industries USA $2,268 $2,800 23.5%
43 ID Logistics France $2,260 $2,638 16.7%
44 Etsy USA $2,329 $2,566 10.2%
45 Sankyu Japan $2,573 $2,522 -2.0%
46 Logwin AG Luxembourg $2,190 $2,375 8.5%
47 Penske Logistics USA $1,927 $2,100 9.0% Acquired Epes Logistics for its trucking and non-asset services
48 Wincanton United Kingdom $1,898 $2,073 9.2%
49 Fiege Germany $2,129 $1,893 11.1%
50 BLG Logistics Germany $1,301 $1,430 9.9%
Top 50 Global Logistics Companies $537,982 $612,028 13.8%
Revenues are primarily from non-asset third-party logistics services Many overseas companies were negatively impacted by double-digit increase in USD currency (Japanese by 16.5 percent, S. Korean by 11.4 percent, and Danish by 11.1 percent).

Source: Company Reports, SJC Estimate
Prepared by SJ Consulting Group, Inc.
· Contact Eric Johnson at eric.johnson@spglobal.com and follow him on Twitter: @LogTechEric.