Shipping Companies Post Revenue Gains

Looking for signs that the economy is heading in the right direction? Recent financial results from the major players in the global shipping market indicate things are picking up a bit.

Numbers for the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, Federal Express, DHL, Aramex, and TNT are all up–a positive sign of things to come, according to Gerard Hempstead, president of Hempstead Consulting and a former vice president for DHL.

“You look at the USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Aramex, and TNT and you have, for all intents, a picture of the global parcel market,” he says. “Everyone is seeing positive signs, not just earnings improvement, by rightsizing the business.”

When all the major carriers are up, Hempstead says, “then it’s not one cannibalizing another at their expense. There is an underlying organic improvement going on–albeit against very easy year-over-year comparisons because 2009 was so bad.”

Parcel delivery giant UPS saw its first-quarter revenue rise 7%, to $11.7 billion. For the three months ended March 31, consolidated volume totaled 940 million packages, representing a 3% increase. Average revenue per piece also increased 3%.

Third-quarter revenue rose 7% at Federal Express, to $8.14 billion. Net income soared 146%, to $239 million, up from $97 million for the same period last year. Revenue and earnings increased as a result of higher shipment growth, particularly in international express and at FedEx Ground.

At TNT, the Dutch package-delivery firm, first-quarter net income rose 88% on 12% higher revenue. Net income jumped to €143 million ($189 million), while revenue reached €2.75 billion ($3.43 billion) from €2.44 billion ($3.05 billion).

First-quarter revenue climbed 4.4%, to €12.0 billion ($15.0 billion) at Deutsche Post DHL. And at Dubai-based Aramex, first-quarter revenue increased 10%.