Hapag-Lloyd had a net loss of 93.6 million euros ($120 million) in the first quarter 2013, an improvement over the net loss of 132.4 million euros recorded in the same period a year earlier.
“Liner shipping started 2013 on a higher level than in 2012. However,
the competition remains extremely challenging. Rates have come under
tangible pressure since April, especially on the important East-West
routes, and competition is also becoming tougher on Latin America
trades,” said Michael Behrendt, chairman of Hapag Lloyd's executive board, in a statement.
“It is important that rates soon return to a
sensible, profitable level. This is absolutely essential and in the
interests of everyone who relies on a functioning, reliable maritime
shipping industry – from shipping lines to shippers. We cannot afford a
repeat of last year’s non-existent peak season,” he added.
The German liner carrier has already announced further rate increases on all trades and is
taking additional steps to cut costs. The carrier said those efforts
started bearing fruit in the first quarter.
Revenue in the first quarter was 1.65 billion euros, an increase of 3.1 percent on the same period of the previous year.
Hapag-Lloyd said this “was mainly attributable to a rise in the average freight rate, which was 4.2 percent up on the previous year at $1,546 per TEU.”
Volume was slightly higher, around 1.33 million TEUs, compared to 1.32 million TEUs in the first quarter of 2012.
The carrier said the price of bunker fuel was lower averaging $627 per ton in the first three months of 2013 compared with $667 per ton in the first quarter of 2012. Still, it noted fuel prices remain “persistently high.” At the end of 2008, for example, a ton of bunker fuel cost about $150.
Hapag-Lloyd had positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of 24.0 million euros in the first quarter, compared to negative EBITDA of 21.1 million euros in the first quarter of 2012. The adjusted EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) was a negative 53.2 million euros, about half the loss of 99.5 million euros in the first quarter of 2012.
“Despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the global economy, Hapag-Lloyd is striving for a positive operating result (adjusted EBIT) for the full year 2013,” the carrier said.
Hapag-Lloyd said the first quarter result was “in line with expectations" for 1Q, which is traditionally the weakest season for liner shipping because of the Chinese New Year.
The carrier said it had an equity ratio of 44.2 as of March 31 and a “sound balance sheet structure.” It added that full financing has been secured for its investments in containers and ships to which it has agreed to date. - Chris Dupin