German container line Hapag-Lloyd returned to profit in the first quarter of 2015, buoyed by a steep drop in fuel costs and first operational synergies with the CSAV container shipping business it took over at the end of last year.
The group’s operating result (EBIT) rose to a surplus of EUR160.5 million (USD180 million) from a EUR63.2 million deficit in the first quarter of 2014, and its net result soared to EUR128.2 million from a EUR119.1 million loss in the same period last year.
Although carrying volume in the first three months was slightly down at 1.77 million teu compared with the combined volumes of Hapag and CSAV in the corresponding period last year, group turnover reached EUR2.3 billion, which is around the same as Hapag’s and CSAV’s consolidated turnover in the first quarter of 2014.
For Hapag-Lloyd alone it represents an increase of around 50% on levels before the merger. The euro-denominated turnover was stabilised by the appreciation of the US dollar, which more than offset the drop in average freights per teu.
By contrast, transportation costs – bunkers, vessels, equipment, and intermodal costs – per TEU dropped by USD207 compared with the first quarter 2014 due to the slump in bunker prices and network synergies with CSAV, Hapag-Lloyd said.