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Hapag-Lloyd enjoys strong 2019 but warns of COVID-19 effect

ROTTERDAM - SEP 6, 2015: Crane operator picking up a Hapag-Lloyd sea container in the Port of Rotterdam.
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Hapag-Lloyd has said its Group net profit grew by $364 million in 2019 in a “significantly improved” financial performance, but also warned of the effect trade uncertainty and the COVID-19 outbreak might have on 2020’s results.

Rolf Habben Jansen, the carrier’s CEO, attributed its improved performance to higher volumes and freight rates, as well as a focus on more profitable trade lanes.

Revenues also increased from $13.7 billion in 2018 to $14.1 billion in 2019, as did TEU volume, which Jansen alluded to, from 11.8 million TEU to 12.03 million TEU.

However, in its forecast for 2020, the carrier also warned that volumes and revenue might fall due to the COVID-19, or coronavirus, outbreak.

“2020 will be a very unusual year after we have seen that due to the coronavirus outbreak conditions in many markets have changed very quickly over the last weeks,” Jansen said.

“After the initial shock, markets in China and other Asian Countries have started to recover probably faster than many feared – but now also the other continents are impacted, and the effects of that will be significant.

“We will in the upcoming weeks and months mainly focus on the three things that matter most to us: the safety and health of our people, keeping the Supply Chains of our customers flowing and taking precautionary financial measures to weather the storm if it lasts longer than anticipated.”

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