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Hapag-Lloyd expects no easing of container market before 2022

Photo: Marcus Hand hapagnameplate.jpg
Hapag-Lloyd does not expect the situation in the container market to ease before the first quarter of 2022.

Supply chain bottlenecks, port congestion and a capacity crunch have driven container lines to previously unknown levels of profitability and Hapag-Lloyd’s first half 2021 results were no exception. The German line reported first half profit of $3.3bn (EUR2.7bn) more than 10 times the $314m profit it report in the first half of 2020.

“In a market with very strong demand for container transports, we have benefitted from significantly improved freight rates and look back on a very good first half year,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd.

The average container freight for the first half of 2021 was 46% higher than a year earlier at $1,612 per teu, compared to $1,104 per teu.

The current situation of bottlenecks in the supply chain is expected to continue in the second half of the year, and as Seatrade Maritime News reported earlier this week the number of containerships waiting to berth at Los Angeles/Long Beach has now risen again to over 30.  

“Looking at the market environment today, we however do not believe that the situation will return to normal any time soon – despite all the efforts made and the additional container box capacity that is being injected. We currently expect the market situation only to ease in the first quarter of 2022 at the earliest,” Habben Jansen stated.

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