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Hapag Lloyd back in the black after CSAV merger

Hapag Lloyd back in the black after CSAV merger
In it's first full quarter since its merger with CSAV, Hapag-Lloyd has reported a EUR128.2m ($145m) profit for the Q1 2015.

The quarter gave a first look at the revenues of the new Hapag-Lloyd, with EUR2.3bn achieved in the first quarter leading to a EUR170m operating profit. Figures from previous quarters are of limited value for comparison, as they do not include the merged CSAV business activities.

Average freight rates for the quarter were down 1.9% to $1,331 per teu, when adjustments for the CSAV merger are taken into account. Growth in Latin America and China was below expectations, leading to total transport volumes of 1.7m teu and a forecast of unchanged transport volumes in 2015.

A favorable exchange rate further boosted revenues of the combined entity, as the US dollar reached $1.13/EUR compared to $1.37/EUR in the first quarter 2014.

The company was upbeat on its outlook for the medium term, citing an orderbook of 16% of the global fleet, its lowest level since 2002 as orders have tailed off from a peak of 56% of the fleet in 2008. It is still forecast that fleet growth will outpace demand growth, particularly on the Asia-Europe trades where ever-larger mega-boxships continue to be ordered and delivered.

Encouraging figures from the International Monetary Fund were quoted, showing a strengthening of European and US economic growth in 2015 and 2016, a growth to which container shipping is closely tied. Global economic growth was pegged at 3.5%, with global trade growth of 3.7% expected. The company expects that with a better peak season in 2015, it should return improved EBIT results from largely unchanged transport volumes, and a slightly lower average freight rate.