The Hamburg-based shipping company, Hapag-Lloyd, is floating on cloud nine. In the first three quarters of this year, it has achieved the highest net profit, totaling EUR 5.6 billion, since its inception in 1847, the management announced last Friday (12NOV21). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) climbed to EUR 5.8 billion. Hence, it can be assumed that the mood of the crews navigating the company’s 257 vessels, and that of headquarter staff and the employees based in the numerous stations run by Hapag-Lloyd worldwide, was excellent on Friday. After all, the positive results are ultimately also due to their collective efforts.
According to the figures presented by the management last Friday (12NOV21), revenues rose by approximately 70% in the first nine months of 2021, to EUR 15.0 billion (USD 17.9 billion). The financial result can primarily be attributed to the ballooning average freight rate of 1,818 USD/TEU (9 months 2020: 1,097 USD/TEU). The gap between high transport demand and scarce shipping capacity led to skyrocketing rates. Whereas a year ago, the average freight rate for shipping a standard steel box (20-foot TEU) stood at US$1,097, now customers have to pay US$1,818 on average. In total, Hapag-Lloyd carried almost 9,000 TTEU, up 3% year-on-year. To reduce the bottleneck in transport boxes, Hapag-Lloyd has ordered 625,000 TEUs since the beginning of last year, 40% of which are reefers. That is a plus of 22% to the existing container fleet.
High earnings everywhere
Not only Hapag-Lloyd, but the entire shipping industry is posting record profits, as demonstrated by figures presented by MSC, Maersk, CMA-CGM, Cosco, or the Evergreen Line. Corona has massively disrupted former supply chains, which led and continues to lead to significant sailing delays, reducing available maritime transport capacities even further.
“Despite all the operational challenges, we achieved an extraordinary strong nine-month result,” Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd commented. However, global supply chains continue to remain under enormous pressure, further intensified by the current peak season in the third quarter. “This unfortunately also creates additional operational burdens for carriers, ports, and terminals – but, most importantly, for customers worldwide. We will do everything in our power to help with suitable offers and to do our part to resolve the situation through targeted investments and flexible capacity management,” the executive assures.
The bonanza goes on
For the coming months, he anticipates continued high demand for transportation, and a favorable rate structure for the maritime industry. “The earnings momentum will remain at a high level for the rest of the year,” Mr. Habben-Jansen forecasts. For the 2021 financial year, Hapag-Lloyd expects an EBITDA in the range of EUR 10.1 billion to 10.9 billion (previously: EUR 7.6 billion to 9.3 billion), and an EBIT in the financial area of EUR 8.7 billion to 9.5 billion (previously: EUR 6.2 billion to 7.9 billion).
The stock market did not reward Hapag-Lloyd 's prosperous third-quarter figures. The share price fell by 1.81 eurocents to EUR 216.80, following the announcement of the 9-month results.
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