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Hapag-Lloyd, ONE report huge earnings growth amid record container freight rates

Highlights

But Hapag-Lloyd cites disruptions from delays

Consumer spending on goods raises demand

Platts Container Index up sharply in last year

Container shipping lines Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express (ONE) posted huge earnings growth in their latest results July 30 and expect their good fortune to continue for the rest of the year as demand remains strong.

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Hamburg-based Hapag-Lloyd said its preliminary EBITDA for the first half of 2021 was $4.2 billion, more than triple its EBITDA of $1.3 billion for the same period last year. The company now expects its EBITDA for the full year to be in the range of $9.2-$11.2 billion.

"Global demand for container transport remains at a high level," the company said. "However, operational disruptions along the entire supply chain continue to cause significant delays and thereby contribute to the shortage of transport capacity. Hapag-Lloyd therefore expects earnings momentum to remain very strong in the second half of the financial year."

Singapore-based ONE used a different metric in reporting its earnings, but also showed massive earning growth over last year amid the turnaround in container shipping demand from the initial outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic as community lockdowns and stimulus measures spurred a strong increase in consumer spending on goods.

ONE reported an EBITDA of $2.92 billion in the April-June quarter, the first quarter of its fiscal year 2021 ending March 31. This was an increase of early 500% from $488 million in April-June 2020.

"In addition to stay-at-home demand, cargo demand related to going out is recovering, and the global container trade volumes increased by approximately 20% year on year due to a strong demand for consumer goods," ONE said. "Asia-to-North America trade market volume from January to June increased by 40% year on year and by 27% compared to the same period of fiscal 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic."

ONE said it expected to earn a profit before tax of $6 billion in the April-September period as demand continued to increase but could not make a forecast for the full fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, because of the changing economic environment during global vaccine rollouts.

Platts Container Index, a weighted average of the spot freight cost on key container trade routes, was assessed at $7.231.20/FEU, up from $1,199.36/FEU June 30, 2020.

Hapag-Lloyd and ONE are members of THE Alliance and have vessel-sharing agreements with South Korea's Hyundai Merchant Marine and Taiwan's Yang Ming. Hapag-Lloyd and ONE are the fifth- and sixth-largest container shipping companies in the world, respectively.