NORWAY’S Höegh Autoliners has reported lower revenues and earnings for the first quarter of 2024, attributed to lower cargo volumes and the impact of Red Sea diversions. However, freight rates stayed at record highs.

The Oslo-listed company saw Q1 freight revenues of US$328 million compared to US$382 million in Q4 2023 and US$354 million in Q1 2023, while EBITDA in Q1 2024 was US$162 million compared to US$199 million in Q4 2023 and US$170 million in Q1 2023. Adjusted EBITDA in Q1 2024 was US$163 million compared to US$199 million in Q4 2023 and US$171 million in Q1 2023.

Höegh said the main impact on the Q1 numbers came from the volume reduction of 0.7m cbm (17.5%) compared to both Q1 2023 and Q4 2023. The situation in the Red Sea leading up to the decision to avoid Red Sea/Suez transits led to disruptions to several trades and it took time to restabilise the trade systems. The continuous volume loss, as long as the situation remains, is estimated to 0.3m cbm per quarter.

“In addition, we had lower utilisation for some of the trades early in the quarter and the full volume effect of the

Höegh Bangkok sale in Q4 2023. Freight rates stayed at record high levels through the quarter, and we recorded net freight rate of US$83.5 per cbm which is highest on record,” the company said.

Net profit after tax in Q1 2024 was US$115 million, compared to a net profit after tax of US$197 million in Q4 2023 and a net profit after tax of US$117 million in Q1 2023.

Höegh noted that global light vehicle sales increased by 5% in Q1 2024 compared to the same quarter in 2023: “The auto demand continues to demonstrate remarkable resilience. With the production supply constraints improved, vehicle demand should continue its recovery, albeit at a slower rate as the lingering pent-up demand plays out. The 2024 forecast projects a mild increase from 2024.” Demand in the high-and-heavy segment remains strong.

Meanwhile, the second of Höegh’s 9100 CEU Aurora-class PCTC, Höegh Borealis, was floated out of the building dock at China Merchants Heavy Industries’ Jiangsu yard late last week.

Höegh says the Aurora class is the first in its segment to be able to operate on zero carbon ammonia and the first in the PCTC segment to receive DNV’s ammonia and methanol-ready notations with the main engine provided by MAN and the bridge system supplied by Kongsberg Maritime.