Hapag-Lloyd Q3 net profit up 73pc to US$290m, 9-mth profit nearly doubled
GERMAN container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd has posted a net Q3 profit of US$290 million, up 73 per cent, to take the carrier's profit for the nine-month period to $605 million, nearly double the $333 million achieved the previous year
16 November 2020 - 19:06
The carrier attributed the rise in profit to cheaper fuel and cost-cutting. However, the carrier's most profitable quarter could be yet to come, given that Hapag-Lloyd's accounting system works on an end voyage basis, lagging most of its peers by two to three weeks.
As a result, some increases in spot rates in Q3 will work through into the final accounting period.
Transported volumes in Q3 declined 3.4 per cent on last year, to 2.9 million TEU, while revenue dipped 2.5 per cent to $3.52 billion. This produced an ebitda of $756 million, compared with $617 million in Q3 19, and a net profit of $290 million, versus $168 million.
Hapag-Lloyd's average rate per TEU during Q3 was, surprisingly, unchanged at $1,084, so the improved profitability was mostly attributable to cost savings, including cheaper fuel, reports The Loadstar, UK.
'It's pretty clear there has been a better-than-expected rebound in demand, and earnings have been good on the back of low bunker costs,' said CEO Rolf Habben Jansen.
'At least until the Chinese New Year, the market looks to be very strong,' he said , but added that 'it was not logical' that the demand strength would continue indefinitely.
'With an increasing number of cases worldwide, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose high risks to the logistics industry and the supply chains of our customers,' he cautioned.
However, he said, all the carrier's business sectors were continuing to perform well - the exception had been the transatlantic trade, which had been 'a little sluggish but is showing signs of picking up, and ships are running full'.
Mr Habben Jansen was reluctant to comment on contract rate negotiations on the Asia-Europe tradelane, which traditionally commence at this time of year, but accepted that it would be 'very odd' to see contract rates for next year going down.
Giving an insight into Hapag-Lloyd's business model across its tradelanes, he said around a third of liftings consisted of annual contracts, another third from shorter-term contracts of three-to-six months and the final third from the spot market.
He added that 'quite a lot' of contract cargo in the quarter had been transported on Hapag-Lloyd vessels at some 50 per cent below the spot market level.
Hapag-Lloyd is maintaining its full-year earnings guidance of EUR1.1 billion (YS$1.3 billion)-EUR1.3 billion which it upgraded in October and Mr Habben Jansen rejected a suggestion that the carrier was being 'too conservative'.
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