London: Container carrier Hapag-Lloyd has posted a net loss of €604m ($654m) for 2014, blaming “persistently strong competition”.
“We have our work cut out for us in the next 24 months,” chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen (pictured) said in a conference call with investors.
The operating loss was mostly caused by €127m ($138m) of impairment charges incurred by the carrier’s divestment of 16 older containerships. Transaction and restructuring fees cost the company a further €107m ($116m) in 2014.
Freight rates declined by an average of more than 3% over the year, decreasing over all five of Hapag-Lloyd’s five major trade lanes. Nevertheless, the company says it increased its transport volume in all trades.
The company says integrating Chilean container line CSAV’s shipping activities into Hapag-Lloyd will translate to “tangible relief” this year, as will the positive trend in oil and bunker prices.
“With equity of €4bn ($4.4bn) and a liquidity reserve of around €900m ($979m), we are in a good position among our competitors,” Habben Jansen stated in the Hamburg-based carrier’s financial report for 2014. “Overall, we expect a clearly positive operating result for 2015.”