WALLENIUS Wilhelmsen has reported “strong performance” for the first quarter of 2024 despite Red Sea diversions and one of its ships being trapped by the Baltimore bridge collapse.

The PCTC and ro-ro operator posted an EBITDA of US$438 million in the first quarter, a 10% increase from US$396 million in Q1 2023.

Its Q1 net profit of US$185 million was a 7% increase on the US$173 million in the same period past year. Total revenue was unchanged year-on-year, with US$1.25 billion posted in the first quarter of both 2023 and 2024.

Shipping services delivered an EBITDA of US$378 million in Q1, up 11% compared with same quarter last year but down 4% from Q4.

Reduction in revenues (down 3% year-on-year to US$927) due to lower volumes was partly offset by increase in average net freight rate and more efficient operations.

WW said the first quarter of 2024 reflected continued high activity and profitability across all segments, despite geopolitical and operational challenges.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen CEO Lasse Kristoffersen said the company was “very pleased” with its results, particularly in view of the impacts from a number of external events.

“Shipping volumes and available capacity were negatively impacted by the rerouting away from the Red Sea. In addition, the bridge collapse in Baltimore impacted operations on the US east coast,” he said.

“Despite this, and thanks to our teams’ extraordinary efforts, we delivered another strong quarter.”

Mr Kristoffersen said a substantial portion of WW’s contracts are due for renewal in 2024, and “scarcity of shipping capacity provides a firm backdrop for negotiations and business activity”.

“We see increased demand for logistics and integrated services, and support for the ambition to reduce emissions,” he said.

During the quarter WW also ordered four additional Shaper Class methanol dual fuel vessels, for a total of eight firm orders.

Despite the “financial implications” of external events, the company expects 2024 to be a strong year, and “somewhat better than 2023”.