Hapag Lloyd successful in turning last years losses into profit

German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd earned a net profit of US$56 million in the second quarter, a marked turnaround from the net loss of $80 million it recorded in the same period last year. Revenue in the second quarter of this year was $3.57 billion, up from $3.36 billion in the same period in 2018.

Second quarter profit before interest and taxes (EBIT) was $197 million this year, compared to $47 million in the second quarter of 2018. The carrier handled 3,038,000 TEU at an average freight rate of $1,063 per TEU in the second quarter of this year, compared with 2,987,000 TEU at an average freight rate of $1,010 per TEU in the second quarter last year.

Hapag Lloyd reports 3.4% growth in container volumes

“Thanks to higher transport volumes in our core trades, good cost control and slightly better freight rates, we can look back on a good first half year. This also allowed us to redeem additional debt through the early repayment of a senior note,” said Hapag CEO Rolf Habben Jansen.

He said volumes expanded more slowly this year, citing estimates of 3.4 per cent growth in container throughput this year compared to 5.2 per cent in 2018. While in 2018 there was a sharp rise in freight rates from late July or early August, “it’s a little bit slower this year if you look at the indices. I still expect a peak season, but it is always a little bit difficult to judge when exactly it will start and stop. When you look at our bookings, there is no reason to be extraordinarily concerned.”

Hapag Lloyd expects freight rates to rise in 2019

Hapag-Lloyd anticipates that its transport volumes and average freight rates will rise slightly in 2019. It is forecasting EBIT of EUR500 million to EUR900 million (US$549.625 million to $989.325 million) for the full year 2019 compared to an EBIT of EUR443 million in 2018.

Mr Habben Jansen said the shipping line is growing more or less in line with the market on most routes. However, he noted the company reduced volumes on some intra-Asia routes where it was not able to turn a profit. On the other hand, the company has started two new services to serve the Southeast India and Africa trades.

CEO Habben Jansen positive about Hapag Lloyds expected results in 2019

The company also has strengthened its reefer business with an order for 3,420 new reefer containers to raise its reefer capacity to 210,000 TEU. Much of that capacity is aimed at the South America market.

“After a solid first half of 2019, our outlook remains unchanged, even if we have to deal with more trade restrictions and see increasing geopolitical risk, which of course could impact growth in the second half of the year,” Mr Habben Jansen said.

2016 HKSG Group Media Ltd