Hapag-Lloyd returned to profitability in the second quarter of the current financial year, reporting a Group profit of 20.9 million euros for the second quarter, compared to a loss of 7.3 million euros the year before. Although intense competition led to unsatisfactory rate levels, substantial cost cuts and a drop in fuel prices were the main factors behind the positive net result. Bunker costs in the second quarter averaged US$622/tonne, which was well below last year’s average cost of $694/tonne.

Intense competition in the second quarter meant that average freight rates of $1,499/TEU declined from $1,594/TEU. Transport volumes, on the other hand, rose by 2.3 per cent to 1.39 million TEU. Revenue for the quarter declined to 1.706 billion euros, compared with 1.794 billion euros in the same quarter last year.

“Rate increases are indispensable for shipping companies to return to producing sound earnings. While we managed to implement small rate increases at the start of July, it is not enough. Further rate increases have been announced”, said Michael Behrendt, Chairman of the Executive Board of Hapag-Lloyd.

Revenues for the first half of 2013 were stable at 3.358 billion euros (previous year: 3.395 billion euros). At $1,522/TEU for the first six months, average freight rates were disappointing, being $17 below last year’s already unsatisfactory level. Transport volumes rose by 1.2 per cent to more than 2.7 million TEU in the first half of the year.

Investments of 463.6 million euros were made during the first half of the year, mostly for the acquisition of vessels and containers. Long-term financing was secured for the vessels on order and for containers already ordered and planned to be ordered. Equity of 3.1 billion euros and an equity ratio of approximately 44 per cent (as at 30 June) illustrate that Hapag-Lloyd’s financial structure remains sound. Hapag-Lloyd is striving for a positive operating result for the full year 2013.