The seasonally weak first quarter also saw a 3.1% gain in revenues to EUR1.65bn as average freight rates rose 4.2% to $1,546 per teu.
"Liner shipping started 2013 on a higher level than in 2012. However, the competition remains extremely challenging. Rates have come under tangible pressure since April, especially on the important East-West routes, and competition is also becoming tougher on Latin America trades," said Michael Behrendt, chairman of the executive board.
On 14 May 2013, Hapag-Lloyd announced an ambitious set of rate increases and peak season surcharge on its far east westbound services, rates from East Asia to the Mediterranean and North Europe will increase by $1,000 per teu while a $650 per teu peak season surcharge will be added to its East Asia to Mediterranean service from 10 June to 31 August and a $500 per teu surcharge will be added on its East Asia to North Continent service from 1 August to 30 September. Spot rates on the Asia – Europe trade are currently just $700 - $800 per teu.
Behrendt went on to highlight the importance of a rally in rates within the box sector to the wider maritime community, "We cannot afford a repeat of last year's non-existent peak season," he added.