Presenting its results for the first half of 2009, Swiss-based freight forwarder Panalpina management said the industry is involved in a “cut-throat price war”, adding that it would not participate because transport prices were well below cost. Second-quarter profit slumped 68 per cent to 14.6 million Swiss francs (US$13.7 million) on legal costs tied to a corruption investigation in the US and an antitrust probe in Switzerland. Sales fell to 1.36 billion Swiss francs. Panalpina cut the equivalent of 1,740 full-time jobs, or 11 per cent of its workforce, in the first six months of the year. Compared to the first quarter of 2009, air freight volume rose by 3 per cent and ocean freight by 8 per cent although the company said that a large number of new business deals in the SME customer segment failed to compensate for the falloff in volume from large customers. Business improved on trade routes within Asia, from Asia to Australia and the Pacific islands as well as to and from Latin America, CEO Monika Ribar said. Automotive, technology and telecom customers may fare better in the rest of this year than in the second half of 2008, she said.
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