Freight News, Sea, Business

Hapag-Lloyd shows strong start to the year in Q1

[ May 13, 2021   //   ]

Hapag-Lloyd has concluded the first quarter of 2021 with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of roughly $1.9 billion (approximately EUR 1.6 billion). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose to roughly $1.5 billion (approximately EUR 1.3 billion). The Group net result improved to around $1.5 billion (EUR 1.2 billion).
“On the back of the high demand for container transports, we have benefited from better freight rates, especially in the spot market. On top of that, bunker prices have been lower than in 2020. As a result, we concluded the first quarter with a very positive financial result and look back overall on a solid start to the year,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd.
Revenues increased in the first quarter of 2021 by around 33%, to roughly $4.9 billion (approximately EUR 4.1 billion), particularly due to a higher average freight rate, which increased by approximately 38% to reach $1,509/TEU (Q1 2020: $1,094/TEU). Nevertheless, due to the demand-related congestion of port and hinterland infrastructures in many places as well as to a resulting shortage of freely available ships and containers, the transport volume was slightly below the level of the same quarter of the prior year, at roughly 3.0 million TEU (Q1 2020: approximately 3.1 million TEU), or minus 2.6%. On the other hand, a roughly 27% lower average bunker consumption price, which amounted to $384 per tonne in the first three months of the 2021 financial year (Q1 2020: $523 per tonne), had a positive impact on earnings.
Hapag-Lloyd expects that the EBITDA and EBIT for the current 2021 financial year as a whole will clearly surpass the prior-year level. While the positive earnings trend is likely to continue in the second quarter of 2021, a gradual normalization is currently expected in the second half of the year. However, this forecast remains subject to considerable uncertainty due to a number of factors, including: the above-average volatility of freight rates at this time; operational challenges, such as infrastructural bottlenecks; and the inability to predict the future course or economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While we remain optimistic for 2021 as a whole, the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the congested supply chains continue to present a huge challenge to all market participants,” Jansen said. “We will do everything in our power to help normalize this difficult market environment as quickly as possible and make as much capacity available as possible. We will also double down on our efforts to provide the best possible service quality to our customers – as we know that we can and must still do better on that front – and we will continue to implement our Strategy 2023.”