A precise picture of the world’s cargo flow with global Kuehne + Nagel indicators

Real-time information about the flow of goods from the world of transport, with the potential to create forecasts for the future of the global economy – and all this with high precision. The Kühne + Nagel subsidiary LogIndex makes up to 850 data sets available daily on subscription – exactly what logisticians and finance experts have long been waiting for.
It all began in a conference room at the Kühne + Nagel headquarters in Hamburg’s HafenCity. João Monteiro, Karl Gernandt, Chairman of the Board of Administration at that time, and CIO Martin Kolbe looked out of the window. “We had a great view of the harbor and the container terminals and what was going on there – in real-time,” says Monteiro.

Monteiro is now Head of LogIndex AG, a subsidiary of the logistics company. “But then we wondered how the future of the harbor and the worldwide logistics sector might look. That’s even more exciting!” That was when the idea to develop an indicator based on data processed a million times a day by one of the world’s largest forwarders was born. Based on this data, it should be easy to extract a lot of information regarding the flow of goods. Where are the goods coming from, where are they going, in what quantities and how are they shipped? “I was asked to put a team together to find out if it was even possible,” Monteiro remembers.

“I’m building a new nervous system for the logistics industry. To do this, we need people who have the mindset of a start-up, but don’t want to work in one.”

João Monteiro
Managing Director LogIndex AG and Head of New Business at the Kühne + Nagel Group

The idea generated a lot of interest – and not just within the company. “We spoke to analysts, hedge funds, financial services, stock exchanges and investors, too. They all wanted a quick, and above all current overview of trade flows. They didn’t want to wait weeks or months anymore for imprecise official statistics.” Feeling encouraged, Monteiro got to work in mid-2015. By the end of the same year he was in a position to present the first prototype to the Kühne + Nagel Executive Board. “We quickly recognized that our figures were much better than, for example, those the banks publish in their own surveys and forecasts.” The Board gave the green light and set up a separate subsidiary.

Shortly thereafter, in 2016, LogIndex AG introduced their first product, global Kuehne + Nagel indicators (gKNi). It quickly became clear that gKNi not only had potential for internal use, but that it could be a great commercial product, too. “gKNi certainly is not expected to be an important source of revenue for the group,” says Monteiro. “We see our LogIndex business almost as a playground for the development of new capabilities and new technologies which could help Kühne + Nagel for the future. That is the real value of what we are doing.”

global Kuehne + Nagel Indicators (gKNi)

global Kuehne + Nagel indicators is a financial services and information product, developed and offered on a subscription basis by LogIndex, a Kühne + Nagel subsidiary. The indicator is based on anonymized shipment data from Kühne + Nagel’s order book across different modes of transport. This is then combined with external sources such as transshipment figures, customs data and ship and aircraft movements in real-time. The cloud-based system has access to a huge inventory of information. Thanks to its extensive shipment volume alone, the logistics company is able to produce and interpret Trade Nowcasts – real-time assessments of world trade. In addition, gKNi monitors all major ports around the world, which handle more than half of all maritime trade, and the 25 biggest cargo airports, accounting for 75 percent of the total air freight volume.

LogIndex also makes selected key trends and analyses available free of charge. For example, a regular overview of diverse global trends, such as the growth rates of the most important cargo airports worldwide, before all other official statistics.

The world’s most dynamic airports by cargo traffic

*12-month moving average (MA) compared with previous year
LogIndex AG | Kühne + Nagel Group | Update June 2018

  • 1 | 15.5 % | Madrid Barajas International Airport (MAD)
  • 2 | 12.1 % | Mexico City International Airport (MEX)
  • 3 | 10.0 % | Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
  • 4 | 9.8 % | Newark Liberty Int Airport, New York (EWR)
  • 5 | 9.7 % | Zurich Airport (ZRH)
  • 6 | 8.4 % | O’Hare International Airport, Chicago ( ORD)
  • 7 | 8.0 % | Heathrow Airport, London
  • 8 | 6.7 % | Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN)
  • 9 | 6.5 % | John F. Kennedy Int Airport, New York (JFK)
  • 10 | 6.1 % | Taiyuan International Airport (TPE)
  • 11 | 6.0 % | Louisville International Airport (SDF)
  • 12 | 5.4 % | Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong (HKG)
  • 13 | 4.6 % | Narita International Airport, Tokyo (NRT)
  • 14 | 4.4 % | Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • 15 | 4.1 % | Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • 16 | 2.1 % | ShenzhenBao’an International Airport (SZX)
  • 17 | 1.8 % | Airport Frankfurt (FRA)
  • 18 | 1.6 % | Memphis International Airport (MEM)
  • 19 | 1.0 % | Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
  • 20 | 0.9 % | Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
  • 21 | 0.7 % | Dubai International Airport (DXB)
In total, gKNi analyzes over 250 million data sets daily, from which LogIndex distills around 850 individual, directly user-relevant reports. These include, for example, changes in industrial production or shifts in goods flows for a variety of raw materials, investment and consumer goods, and the forecasts generated from these. They can be used long before the data is captured and published in official statistics. LogIndex therefore gives its users a distinct competitive advantage. The highly up-to-date data and early, precise future forecasts allow customers to operate proactively, for example, to plan freight and warehousing capacity effectively. It is clearly a success. Analysts from American financial services company Citigroup have retrospectively ascertained that in 70 percent of all cases, the gKNi forecasts came closer to the actual developments than those of renowned economic experts.

“The gKNi forecasts are so reliable and available so early that we have decided not only to use them ourselves, but also to offer them to the market as a financial product.”

Dr. Detlef Trefzger
Chair of the Board of Administration at LogIndex AG and CEO of the Kühne + Nagel Group
Text by Behrend Oldenburg
Photos: Fotolia, Kühne + Nagel
Table: LogIndex
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