Hapag-Lloyd CEO Predicts Early Peak Season For Ocean Shipping

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Hapag-Lloyd’s annual report for 2023 and financial results for Q4 reveal exactly how challenging the ocean container market has been for the largest steamship lines. The report, which the German container ship line released Thursday, notes that Liner Shipping revenues dropped 48.5% to 17.7 billion euros ($19.2 billion) from 2022 to 2023, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell by 77.1% to 4.4 billion euros over the same period.

Volumes grew

The ocean carrier grew its volumes slightly, from 11.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units to 11.9 million TEUs, but the collapse of average freight rates from $2,863 per TEU to $1,500 per TEU meant that Hapag-Lloyd took in much less money for every box it moved, crushing its margins and profitability.

Inventories depleted

But when it came time to discuss Hapag-Lloyd’s financial results on CNBC, CEO Rolf Habben Jansen was already painting a rosier picture: Inventories are depleted worldwide, Habben Jansen said, and the volumes were picking up nicely after the Lunar New Year. Peak season will come early this year, he predicted.

Typically, ocean container peak season runs from September to October, effectively ending with Golden Week each year. That gives importers enough time to pick up boxes at the port, transload them at nearby warehouses, and then move them to inland distribution centers by rail or truck, ingesting them into their domestic supply chain in time for peak retail season in November and December.

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Source : FreightWaves