Hamburg-based shipping line reports year-on-year profit raise of 80%

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd (HLAG.DE) raised its 2019 operating profit by 80% to 811 million euro ($875.47 million) as it earned higher freight rates and cut costs, the Hamburg-based firm reported on Wednesday.

“The main drivers of the positive business developments have been improved freight rates as well as rigorous cost and revenue management,” said the company, the world’s fifth biggest operator, in a statement on preliminary results.

Operating earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) had previously been pegged in a target corridor between 0.5 billion and 0.9 billion euro.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to 1.99 billion euro from 1.14 billion in 2018 and compared with a target corridor of 1.6 to 2.0 billion.

Freight rates, a key measure in shipping, rose by 2.6% year-on-year to $1,072 per twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU).

Hapag-Lloyd is due to give a 2020 guidance when it publishes full annual results on March 20.