HAPAG-Lloyd has reported declines in group EBITDA, EBIT and profit for the first quarter of 2024 but is upbeat about trends and has revised its forecast for the full financial year.

The German carrier registered Group EBITDA of US$942 million (EUR 868 million) in 1Q 2024, compared to US$2,379 million for the same period in 2023. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the Group EBIT decreased to US$396 million (EUR 365 million) from US$1,874 million and the Group profit to US$325 million (EUR 299 million) from US$2,031 million.

“Even though our results are significantly below the exceptionally strong figures from the previous year owing to the normalisation of supply chains, we are pleased to have got the new year off to a good start,” CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said.

“The rates stabilised in the first quarter due to the rerouting of ships around the Cape of Good Hope and higher demand for capacity. The numerous new ships that have and will be delivered across the industry in 2024 have been instrumental to keep the supply chains going without too much disruption. Going forward, we must keep a close eye on our costs, and we will continue the implementation of our Strategy 2030 – with main focus on our decarbonisation initiatives and our promise to be the undisputed number one for quality for our customers,” he said.

In the Liner Shipping segment, the transport volumes for the first quarter of 2024 increased by 6.8%, to 3 million TEU (Q1 2023: 2.8 million TEU). Transport expenses were on a par with the same quarter of the previous year, at US$3.3 billion (EUR 3 billion). Although costs rose significantly as a result of the rerouting of ships around the Cape of Good Hope, these were largely offset by active cost management, the carrier said.

Revenues decreased to US$4.6 billion (EUR 4.3 billion), primarily owing to a lower average freight rate of 1,359 USD/TEU (Q1 2023: 1,999 USD/TEU). Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the EBITDA decreased to US$906 million (EUR 835 million) and the EBIT to US$378 million (EUR 348 million).

In the Terminal & Infrastructure segment, an EBITDA of US$35 million (EUR 32 million) and an EBIT of US$18 million (EUR 16 million) were achieved in the first quarter of 2024. The new segment was only created in the second half of 2023 and is currently in the process of being established. For this reason, the figures for the first quarter of 2024 are only comparable with the prior-year figures to a limited extent, Hapag-Lloyd said.

“In view of the positive business performance in the first quarter of 2024, the Executive Board has refined its forecast for the current financial year, which was published on 14 March 2024. The Group EBITDA is now expected to be in the range of US$2.2 to 3.3 billion (EUR 2 to 3 billion) and the Group EBIT to be in the range of US$0 to 1.1 billion (EUR 0 to 1 billion).

“It is still assumed that a large part of the projected result will be generated in the first half of the year. In view of the highly volatile development of freight rates and major geopolitical challenges, this forecast remains subject to a high degree of uncertainty,” the board said.