Home » Breaking News, Maritime » Hapag-Lloyd has good first half in 2020 but COVID-19 uncertainties remain

Box carrier Hapag-Lloyd concluded the first half of 2020 with earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of US$563 million, surpassing the prior-year figure of $440 million.

Group profit improved to $314 million. At the same time, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to $1.29 billion.

Revenues in the first half year of 2020 stood at about US$7.0 billion, less than 1% below the prior-year level, the decline attributed mainly to the decrease in transport volumes of about 4% to roughly 5.8 million TEUs.

While transport volumes were still slightly higher in the first quarter, the second quarter saw a decline of roughly 11% compared to the prior-year period as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The average freight rate in the first half of 2020 slightly improved to $1,104 per TEU.

“After the year got off to a decent start, transport volumes significantly declined in the second quarter as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We benefitted from the sudden drop in bunker prices, adjusted capacity to lower demand and took additional cost-cutting measures as part of our Performance Safeguarding Program,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, chief executive officer of Hapag-Lloyd AG.

“On the whole, we have a good first half year behind us despite the coronavirus crisis,” he said.

Transport expenses were around 4% below the comparable figure for the previous year. Average bunker price was $448 per tonne, which is about 4% higher than it was in the prior-year period owing to the introduction of the IMO 2020 fuel regulation. This was offset by positive effects from a volume-related decline in transport expenses and active cost management.

In addition, the sharply declining bunker prices in the second quarter had a positive impact on Hapag-Lloyd’s earnings.

Looking ahead, the results forecast remains unchanged. For the current financial year, Hapag-Lloyd expects an EBITDA of EUR1.7 billion ($2.01 billion) to EUR2.2 billion and an EBIT of EUR0.5 to EUR1.0 billion.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic repercussions it has had in many parts of the world, the forecast will remain subject to considerable uncertainty, the carrier said.

Photo courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd

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