Revenue reached EUR 1.554 billion in the first quarter (prior year period: EUR 1.652 billion). An operating loss before interest and taxes of EUR 80.6 million was incurred, compared to an operating loss of EUR 58.9 million during the first quarter of 2013. The net loss during the period was EUR 119.1 million, versus EUR 93.6 in 2013.

The total comprehensive loss attributable to the company’s shareholders rose from EUR 25.1 in Q1 of 2013 to EUR 138.2 million in Q1 of 2014. On the bright side, cash flow from operations increased from a negative number of EUR 24.3 million in Q1 of 2013 to a positive EUR 64.4 million during the quarter just ended.

The company was also able to reduce its costs compared with the prior year period. Transport expenses were cut by EUR 86 million to EUR 1.404 billion overall, despite the growth in volume of 5.5 per cent. Specifically, the cost of purchased services was reduced by more than EUR 53 million, notably with regard to container transport costs as well as rental charges for charters, leases and containers. Furthermore, bunker expenses declined slightly, due, on the one hand, to the use of more modern and efficient vessels such as the 13,200-TEU newbuildings and, on the other hand, to a fall in bunker prices which fell to an average of USD 595/tonne in the first quarter (prior year period: USD 627/tonne).

At USD 1,422/TEU, average freight rates in the first quarter of 2014 dropped USD 124/TEU compared to Q1 of 2013. Thanks to its market position, the company was able to increase its volume by 5.5 per cent year on year to 1.4 million TEUs in the first quarter.

The company’s objective for 2014 continues to be improving realized freight rates. “Our success in achieving this target will depend largely on the development of freight rates in the second half of the year and, above all, on the peak season,” said Michael Behrendt, Chief Executive Officer. “With the expansion of the G6 Alliance to include all east–west trades, which is currently being implemented in our service network, together with the takeover and integration of CSAV’s container segment, which still has to be approved by the competition authorities, Hapag-Lloyd will again significantly improve its ability to compete. This means that we are well positioned for the future and for additional growth.”