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Hapag-Lloyd Forecasts ‘Very Strong’ First Quarter

Mike Schuler
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February 16, 2021

Hapag-Lloyd expects operating profit to more than triple in the first quarter of 2021 on “exceptionally” strong demand for container transportation and higher freight rates, the German shipping line said today.

The company forecasted that performance indicators EBITDA and EBIT are expected to be significantly higher than in the first quarter of 2021, with EBITDA currently expected to be at least USD 1.8 billion, compared to USD 517 million in Q1 2020.

As a whole, Hapag-Lloyd expects 2021 to produce better results than 2020, however there is still significant uncertainty considering a number of factors including economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Freight rate volatility and supply chain bottlenecks also pose risks.

“We will see a very strong result in the first quarter, but we anticipate a normalisation as the year progresses,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd. “We are still seeing slower container turn times, significant congestion in ports around the globe, capacity constraints in rail and truck, and the risks of the coronavirus pandemic remain.

“Nevertheless, we do also expect that the result for 2021 as a whole will be significantly higher than the prior-year level. At the same time, we will continue to keep our focus on our employees, serving our customers in the best possible way and the implementation of our Strategy 2023,” added Jansen.

Hapag-Lloyd operates a fleet of 234 containerships with a total capacity of 1.7 million TEU, ranking it as the fifth largest liner shipping company in the world, according to Alphaliner.

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