Hapag-Lloyd records third-highest group profit in history despite significant financial declines

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HAMBURG : Hapag-Lloyd has reported revenues of US$19.4 billion and profit of US$3.2 billion in 2023, translating to massive year-on-year drops from US$36.4 billion and US$18 billion, respectively.

Additionally, the company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell from US$18.5 billion in 2022 to US$2.7 billion in 2023 and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) decreased from US$20.5 billion to US$4.8 billion.

Despite the significant declines from 2022 record levels, Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd, highlighted that the company achieved the third-best Group profit in its history.

“We were able to considerably boost customer satisfaction and the digitalisation of our container fleet. We significantly expanded our business in the Terminal & Infrastructure segment and grew our liner shipping activities in India and Africa. We reduced our carbon footprint, taking another step towards our goal of becoming net-zero carbon by 2045,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, who will lead the company for another five years.

In the Liner Shipping segment, Hapag-Lloyd maintained its container volumes moving 11.9 million TEUs in 2023, representing a marginal 0.5% from 2022 box volumes. At the same time, transport expenses lowered by 11% to US$12.9 billion, primarily due to lower expenditures for demurrage and storage fees for containers and a lower bunker consumption price, noted the company.

In light of the positive financial results, the Hamburg-based shipping giant’s Executive Board and Supervisory Board have decided to propose to the Annual General Meeting a dividend of €9.25 per share for the 2023 financial year, which would correspond to a total of €1.6 billion. This would also be the third-highest amount ever paid out by Hapag-Lloyd.

For the current 2024 financial year, the Executive Board of Hapag-Lloyd AG expects the Group EBITDA to be in the range of US$1.1 to 3.3 billion and the Group EBIT to be in the range of US$ -1.1 to 1.1 billion. However, the company noted that this forecast remains subject to “considerable uncertainty” given the volatile development of freight rates and geopolitical challenges.

“We have got the current financial year off to a satisfactory start, but the economic and political environment continues to be volatile and challenging – especially in view of the current situation around the Red Sea,” confirmed Hapag-Lloyd’s boss.

Rolf Habben Jansen went on to add, “We therefore expect to see an overall decrease in earnings in 2024. As part of our Strategy 2030, we will be focusing even more intensively on quality and sustainability. We will continue to grow in our new Terminal & Infrastructure business as well as our share and portfolio of hinterland transports. At the same time, we will also need to reinforce our top 5 position on the global market and realise improvements in terms of cost efficiency and productivity.”

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