The world's largest air freight forwarder attributed the volume decline to weaker market conditions as 'tariffs and increasing uncertainty left their mark on overall trade volumes,' it said.
The improvement in gross profit reflects the declining market conditions - there is generally a lag in price decreases being passed through to shippers - incremental improvement in organisation and processes and 'strong internal discipline towards gross profit contribution of new business.'
When comparing performance with its rivals, DSV's air freight volumes fell by two per cent during the second quarter, Kuehne + Nagel saw volumes decrease by 8.4 per cent, but Panalpina's volumes rose by one per cent thanks to acquisitions.
Worldwide, the air cargo market is estimated to have contracted by five per cent in the second quarter.
The overall DHL Forwarding and Freight business achieved a second-quarter revenue increase of 2.5 per cent year on year to EUR3.8 billion.
As for the entire Deutsche Post DHL company, which includes its postal, express, supply chain and e-commerce businesses, second-quarter revenues rose three per cent to EUR15.5 billion, net profit declined by 11.2 per cent to EUR458 million, but EBIT was up 2.9 per cent to EUR769 million.
'Overall, Deutsche Post DHL Group is in good shape. Our business developed as planned in the second quarter,' said Deutsche Post DHL Group chief executive Frank Appel. 'We have already generated group EBIT of about EUR1.9 billion after six months.
'That's nearly half of our minimum target for 2019. The measures we initiated to improve productivity at Post and Parcel and the postage rate increase as of July 1 will provide further momentum in the second half of the year, as will the traditionally strong final quarter.'
The company invested a total of EUR1.3 billion across all divisions from April to June, mainly due to its intercontinental fleet renewal at DHL Express, on which the company spent EUR743 million in the second quarter alone.
So far Deutsche Post DHL Group has commissioned the first two of 14 new Boeing 777 freighters. Two further aircraft are scheduled for delivery this year.