Hapag-Lloyd almost doubles profit despite pandemic

Panama Canal, Panama - December 7, 2019: Hapag-Lloyd cargo ship entering the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal, in Panama

Hapag-Lloyd has announced that its profits for the first half of the year almost doubled year-on-year from $165 million to $314 million despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The carrier attributed this to lower bunker prices and additional cost-cutting measures.

“After the year got off to a decent start, transport volumes significantly declined in the second quarter as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, Chief Executive Officer, Hapag-Lloyd.

“We benefitted from the sudden drop in bunker prices, adjusted capacity to lower demand and took additional cost-cutting measures as part of our Performance Safeguarding Program.

“On the whole, we have a good first half year behind us despite the coronavirus crisis.”

Additionally, the carrier also said its forecast for the rest of 2020 has not changed due to the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. It expects an earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of between $2 billion and $2.6 billion.

The forecast, it said, will remain subject to “considerable uncertainty” as freight rates and bunker prices remain unsteady, and they will have a substantial effect on its performance in the second half of 2020.

“Thanks to the wide range of measures we have introduced in recent months, we are still on track,” Jansen said.

“Our focus will remain on the safety and health of our employees, but naturally also on safeguarding the supply chains of our customers worldwide.

“We will continue to advance our Performance Safeguarding Program and to implement our Strategy 2023.

“While doing so, we will keep a close eye on the future course of the COVID-19 pandemic and flexibly react to market changes. On the whole, the pandemic is and will remain a major source of uncertainty for the entire logistics industry.”

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