The Panalpina Group


Businesses around the world both large and small look to the Panalpina Group to guide their supply chain operations. The multinational company, headquartered in Switzerland, leverages a global network of 500 offices in more than 80 countries to provide tailor-made services to customers. It serves the automotive, chemicals, consumer and retail, fashion, healthcare, high-tech, manufacturing, oil and gas, and telecommunications industries.

“The world of transportation and logistics is complex and can be fraught with unseen obstacles; to navigate successfully around these requires the ability to tackle each new challenge with fresh ideas, applying creativity, experience and expertise,” the company says. “Rising to challenges like these is precisely what our team does every day, everywhere in the world.”

Panalpina operates three regional units: one serving Europe, the Middle East and Africa; one serving Asia; and one focused on North and South America. The company’s business is divided into three categories: air freight, ocean freight and logistics. 

The company’s services range from transportation and storage to complex supply chain operations. “We optimize all activities around information, material and financial flow,” Panalpina adds. “We provide globally integrated end-to-end solutions tailored to our customers’ supply chain management needs with a special commitment to industry-specific requirements.”

Service Offerings

Panalpina helps its customers design, plan and manage all of the activities in the supply chain including sourcing, procurement and execution. “Our objective is to create sustainable value across the entire supply chain and build a competitive infrastructure for all supply chain partners,” the company says.

Supply chain services begin with an analysis phase, which consists of the company’s consulting team analyzing clients’ existing logistics processes. Panalpina then assigns a project management team to work with clients’ management and employees to learn more about their needs before preparing initial proposals. Once proposals and plans are approved, the company implements its logistics and information resources and systems. 

Panalpina uses several approaches to help its clients improve their supply chains. These include supply chain optimization (SCO), a consultative approach that identifies, analyzes and eliminates inefficiencies. SCO is divided into a diagnostics, or value identification, phase as well as an optimization phase, which includes scenario assessment and benefit realization. The approach identifies supply chain cost drivers and compares performance factors against industry benchmarks, the company says. 

The company also uses network optimization, a simulation service that uses modeling software to visualize and model supply chain networks. The service takes a number of factors into consideration including transportation and logistics costs, lead times and distances, service levels, product characteristics and inventory management strategies. 

Panalpina’s supply chain visibility service identifies existing material, capital and information flows in customers’ inbound and outbound supply chains, providing traceability in all stages of transit. The service generates data through the use of bar code scanning, RFID and EDI tools. 

The company’s other services include supply chain event management systems, which provide real-time transparency about order status and product movements. It also provides supply chain performance management services, which provide insight into clients’ key performance indicators such as lead-time, cost/asset and service/quality.

Creating Value

Panalpina offers logistics services in five categories: inbound services, value-added warehousing, production services, distribution services and aftermarket services. “We create more value for our customers’ supply chains through our global network, on-site knowledge and expertise, and we are passionate about delivering operational excellence,” the company says. “With our comprehensive expertise in all major industries, our strong local organizations and our extensive experience in offering value-added logistics services, we can provide our customers with the perfect balance between price and performance.”

Inbound services include managing flow from suppliers to production sites, coordinating the sequencing and delivery of inbound materials, inventory management and inventory planning. Panalpina’s warehousing services include fulfillment, e-fulfillment, re-packaging and cross docking. 

The company’s production and distribution services include kitting, the grouping and packaging of finished goods as a single unit; light assembly activities; and technical services such as managing technical equipment. 

Panalpina’s aftermarket services include reverse logistics, the managing of the flow of surplus or obsolete raw materials back to warehouses to be re-used, recycled or disposed of; and spare parts management solutions, which include return and repair, product exchange and replacement services. 

By Air and Sea

Panalpina operates an asset-light business model, as it leases aircraft, warehouses and chartering vessels and partners with transportation and logistics companies to move freight. 

The company is one of the largest ocean freight providers worldwide, with more than 1.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units transported each year. Panalpina offers both full container and less-than container services, which can be combined with other road, rail and air services. 

The company is one of the only of its kind to operate its own airfreight transportation network – called Own Controlled Network – which handles roughly 15 percent of the company’s airfreight. 

The company’s airfreight network of hubs and sub-hubs connects to road delivery or ocean freight connections to offer customers “door-to-door delivery anywhere in the world,” it says.

Since many of the shipments handled by the company require special handling or specialized equipment, Panalpina offers a host of add-on services, which it refers to as Service Plus. These include high-value cargo handling, dangerous goods handling, temperature-controlled transportation and documentation.   

Panalpina’s airfreight network uses two Boeing 747-8F cargo planes leased from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. The planes, which entered service in 2012, have a larger cargo volume and lower carbon dioxide emissions than the Boeing 747-400F planes they replaced. The names of the new planes – “Spirit of Panalpina” and “Passion for Solutions” – reflect the company’s overall service philosophy. “Our passion to find better and smarter ways of doing things is the driving force behind our business,” the company says. “It takes a lot of passion to transform ideas into effective solutions, and even more to turn those into products and services which contribute to our customers’ success.” ­­­


The Panalpina Group