hapag-lloyd ag: No more smooth sailing as shipping giant sees ‘difficult waters’ ahead



The world’s fifth-largest container carrier warned of “difficult waters” ahead that it aims to weather with the help of a solid financial position built up over almost two years of surging ocean freight rates.
Hapag-Lloyd AG, based in Hamburg, Germany, posted €26.7 billion ($28.4 billion) in revenue in the first nine months of 2022, compared with €15 billion in the year-earlier period, the company said Thursday. Profit as measured by Ebitda totaled €15.6 billion, more than double the year-earlier result.
In the third quarter, revenue totaled €9,741 billion, compared with €6,245 billion a year earlier, the company said.

Results were boosted by an average rate for 20-foot containers that was $2,938 during the nine-month period, compared with $1,818 a year earlier, Hapag-Lloyd said. As its Copenhagen-based rival A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S signaled last week, such elevated shipping rates may not be sustained as global trade slows and countries around the world struggle to contain inflation without plunging their economies into recessions.
“The strained situation in the global supply chains should continue to normalize,” CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said in a statement. “At the same time, our strong balance sheet will help us to stay on course even in difficult waters.”
Habben Jansen said the company would continue to invest in infrastructure, “which we are using to further expand our terminal portfolio.”
Profit guidance for the full year is still expected to be reached. “However, this forecast remains subject to considerable uncertainty given Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine, supply chain disruptions that have not yet been fully resolved, and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the company said in its statement.
Hapag-Lloyd shares fell as much as 5.3%, to trade down 2.2% at €165 as of 10:39 a.m. in Frankfurt.
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