Hapag-Lloyd said it had a net loss of 128 million euros ($166 million) in 2012 compared to a net loss of 28.8 million euros in 2011.
The German carrier had revenue of 6.8 billion euros in 2012 compared to 6.1 billion euros in 2011, a 12.1 percent increase. The company said average freight rates were up 3.2 percent to $1,581 per TEU and transport volumes were up 1.1 percent to about 5.2 million TEUs.
Hapag-Lloyd had positive operating results, but they were lower than the prior year. The company had EBITDA of 335 million euro, down from 367 million euro in 2011 and EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of 3 million euros, down from 80 million euros in 2011.
The carrier said “newly rising energy costs, of which bunker is the largest component, burdened the liner shipping sector also in 2012 again. Bunker prices soared to record levels in excess of $720 per ton in the first half of 2012 in particular. Hapag-Lloyd had to spend 9 percent more last year with an average bunker price of $660 per ton, after a 34 percent increase the year before.
“The marked downturn in the global economy also resulted in unexpectedly low cargo volumes and an absence of the peak season in the second half of the year. Imports in Southern European countries hit by the debt crisis were particularly affected, together with exports from growth drivers such as China, India and Brazil,” Hapag-Lloyd added.
“Peak season surcharges, which represent an important earnings contribution in the liner shipping sector, could not be achieved in key trades in 2012. The rate increases successfully implemented in the first half of the year – amounting to more than 12 percent between January and July at Hapag-Lloyd – deteriorated again in the second half of the year as a result of weaker demand,” it said.
On a higher note, Hapag-Lloyd noted that it did generate a positive operating result, as it did in 2011. "Although this meant that we performed well compared to the rest of the industry, earnings fell short of our expectations and are not satisfactory,” said Michael Behrendt, chief executive officer of Hapag-Lloyd, in a statement. “Our goal for the current financial year is to achieve a solid improvement in earnings with the help of our already announced rate increases and further cost reductions in order to be able to distribute a dividend again.”
Hapag-Lloyd said the successful launch of the new G6 Alliance in the Asia-Europe trade was a milestone in 2012.
“The G6 Alliance enables us to offer our customers a much better product without additional costs,” Behrendt said.
The company noted it's extending the G6 Alliance to the trade between Asia and the North America's east coast from next month, and said “in doing so, Hapag-Lloyd will be able to offer its customers 40 percent more port connections and 70 percent more weekly connections between the two continents in one fell swoop and without having to provide additional tonnage." - Chris Dupin