Hapag-Lloyd more than trebles H1 net profit, sees economic uncertainty

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FRANKFURT, (Reuters) – German container shipper Hapag-Lloyd  on Thursday posted a net profit of 8.7 billion euros ($8.94 billion) for the first half of 2022, more than three times the number a year earlier, but said that war in Ukraine and the coronavirus crisis somewhat clouded its prospects.

The company, the world’s fifth-biggest container liner, upheld preliminary forecasts made on July 28 for full year 2022 EBITDA to range between 18.2 billion and 20.1 billion euros, and for EBIT to come in at between 16.3 billion and 18.2 billion euros.

But the forecast remained subject to uncertainties about the war, the COVID-19 pandemic, and signs that spot freight rates were beginning to ease, chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen said.

The pandemic has disrupted logistics worldwide, which still leaves many ports congested and infrastructure strained, while manpower remains short, which together is resulting in longer turnaround times for ships and containers, the company said.

The first half result compared with 2.7 billion euros in first half of 2021.

Habben Jansen said the result had been negatively affected by higher expenses for container handling and ships charters as well as by a 67% increase in shipping fuel prices to $703 per tonne.

“A steep rise in all cost categories is putting increased pressure on our unit costs,” he said.

Revenues in January-June rose 94% to 17 billion euros largely thanks to average freight rates of $2,855 per twenty-foot equivalent standard container unit (TEU), up 77% from a year earlier, and also helped by a stronger dollar.

Transport volumes in the six months were roughly on a par with the prior-year level of 6 million TEU.

($1 = 0.9733 euros)

(Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Rachel More and Kim Coghill)

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