Hapag-Lloyd doubles earnings

German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd HLAG.DE on Thursday reported it more than doubled earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to 643 million euros ($708.59 million) in the first nine months of 2019, citing better performance in volumes and freight revenues.

“Despite geopolitical tensions and trade restrictions, we benefited from higher transport volumes and better freight rates and also kept a close eye on our costs,” said Chief Executive Rolf Habben Jansen.

Hapag-Lloyd, the world’s fifth biggest container shipping group, confirmed its outlook for full-year 2019, adding that based on the first three quarters, both earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and EBIT should be in the upper part of the guided ranges.

EBITDA in 2019 is expected to rise to 1.6 billion to 2.0 billion euros from 1.138 billion in 2018, and 2019 EBIT to hit 0.5 billion to 0.9 billion.

EBITDA in Jan-Sept came in at 1.5 billion euros after 812 million in comparable 2018.

In the first nine months, freight rates, a key measure in shipping, rose 4.2% to $1,975 per twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU) from $1,032 previously.

Transport volumes increased by 1.2% to 9,011 TEU in the nine months.

Hapag-Lloyd reported a net profit of 297 million euro in the first nine months of 2019, up from a year-earlier result of 13 million euros.

The global shipping industry, which is on course for consolidation, still faces headwinds from a trade war between the United States and China.