Hapag-Lloyd fell to a $31.8 million loss after interest and taxes in the first quarter despite an improvement in operating results and the German ocean container carrier said it would seek new rate increases this year
Hapag-Lloyd more than doubled operating profit to $23.2 million from $9.6 million in last year’s first quarter as revenue grew 16.5 percent to $2.1 billion. But the taxes and interest payments pushed the operation into the red.
Average freight rates grew 10 percent to $1,563 per 20-foot-equivalent unit and cargo volume increased 2 percent to 1.2 million TEUs.
“Given the prevailing conditions, we achieved a good result,” said Michael Behrendt, chairman of Hapag-Lloyd’s Executive Board. “Nevertheless, the rise in the oil price, the weak U.S. dollar and growing competition are making business more difficult.”
“Our aim must be to see that the additional external challenges are covered by appropriate rate increases.”
Cargo traffic varied across the carrier’s network, with the Atlantic broadly unchanged at 273,000 TEUs against 276,000 TEUs in the first quarter of 2010, while shipping to Latin America grew 6.5 percent to 265,000 TEUs.
Volume on Far East routes dropped to 260,000 TEUs from 284,000 TEUs as Hapag-Lloyd said it rejected low-priced contracts but trans-Pacific shipments grew to 266,000 TEUs from 238,000 TEUs.
Albert Ballin, Hapag-Lloyd’s largest shareholder with a 50.2 percent shareholding, will increase its stake to 61.6 percent on May 31. This will reduce the stake of TUI, the German tourism group, to 38.4 percent.