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Container shipping boom continues: Hapag-Lloyd hikes outlook (again)

German carrier expects full-year EBITDA to rise 52%-68% vs. 2021

(Photo: Hapag-Lloyd)

As great as 2021 was for container shipping lines, this year is turning out better. Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd has just raised its earnings outlook again.

The world’s fifth-largest liner operator said Thursday that it will post earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $10.9 billion for the first half of this year.

This translates into EBITDA of $5.6 billion for Q2 2022 — the best quarterly result in the company’s history and up 145% year on year. Hapag-Lloyd reported EBITDA of $5.3 billion in the first quarter.

For the first half, volume came in at 6 million twenty-foot equivalent units, flat year on year. The average freight rate increased 80%, implying a rate of $2,902 per TEU for the first half.

Hapag-Lloyd’s average freight rate was $2,774 per TEU in the first quarter, meaning that rates in the second quarter — including both contract and spot rates — rose even higher.

For full-year 2021, Hapag-Lloyd reported EBTIDA of $12.8 billion. In March, it projected this year’s EBITDA would be $12 billion-$14 billion. In May, it pushed its outlook up to $14.5 billion-$16.5 billion.

On Thursday, it raised it significantly, to $19.5 billion-$21.5 billion, 52%-68% above last year’s result. Hapag-Lloyd’s outlook implies very strong results for the second half of the year of $8.6 billion-$10.6 billion.

According to Deutsche Bank analyst Andy Chu, “Even though our forecasts are significantly ahead of the market, today’s new guidance — especially at the top of the range [with] management very conservative — is materially ahead of expectations. The company is making extraordinary profits.”

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Greg Miller

Greg Miller covers maritime for FreightWaves and American Shipper. After graduating Cornell University, he fled upstate New York's harsh winters for the island of St. Thomas, where he rose to editor-in-chief of the Virgin Islands Business Journal. In the aftermath of Hurricane Marilyn, he moved to New York City, where he served as senior editor of Cruise Industry News. He then spent 15 years at the shipping magazine Fairplay in various senior roles, including managing editor. He currently resides in Manhattan with his wife and two Shih Tzus.