Container carriers enjoy eye-watering $110 billion in 2021 operating profit

COSCO SHIPPING LEO Container Ship of COSCO SHIPPING Lines leaving the port of Rotterdam for open sea. The ship is filled with shipping containers stacked high up on both the front and back of the large ship

Global shipping lines made an astounding operating profit (EBIT) of over $110 billion in 2021.

According to analysis by Sea-Intelligence, the combined 2010-2020 operating profit across all years was a combined figure of $37.54 billion, CEO Alan Murphy wrote.

In short, the industry has tripled its operating profit in 2021-FY compared to the past decade, he added.

© Sea-Intelligence

“Just by looking at the chart we can see the absurd nature of the supply/demand situation and the freight rate environment of 2021, dwarfing each of the previous years in terms of EBIT/TEU,” Murphy wrote.

“The previous years are hardly relevant in context of the outsized EBIT/TEU numbers what we are seeing right now.”

In the 2021 financial year, the smallest EBIT/TEU was recorded by Maersk of $686/TEU, whereas the largest EBIT/TEU was recorded by ZIM, of a staggering $1,671/TEU.

On average, the six charted shipping lines netted an operating profit of $861/TEU.

In the entire last decade, the highest average EBIT/TEU of these global shipping lines was $155/TEU in 2010.

The EBIT for container carriers hit the major sum without taking into account HMM and OOCL’s figures, which will add an additional $10-$15 billion to final figures.

The figures also discount privately-held MSC, and PIL due to irregular updates.

Earlier this month Hapag-Lloyd announced it had made $26.4 billion in revenue in 2021.

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