German shipping company Hamburg Süd Group reported an increase in total turnover by 16.8 percent to EUR 6.05 billion (USD 6.8bn), the company said.
The main drivers of the growth were ascribed to the takeover and integration of the container operations of the Chilean shipping company Compañía Chilena de Navegación Interoceánica S.A. (CCNI) in late March 2015 as well as the entry into the East–West trade lanes.
Shipment volume in the liner business rose on the previous year by 21.5 percent to 4,101 million TEU.
Despite the weakness of the South American economies, especially Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela, this made it possible to meet the volume growth planned for the reporting year, the company said.
A fleet capacity of 625,000 TEU (+16 percent year on year) propelled the Hamburg Süd Group into the ranks of the ten largest container shipping lines worldwide for the first time.
The company’s liner division failed to meet expectations amid global overcapacity and freight rates fall of roughly 16 percent, the company said.
Bulk shipping was also characterized by very difficult market conditions and it fell well short of the result planned for the reporting period. Only the company’s product tanker segment achieved a satisfactory result.
With regard to the outlook, Hamburg Süd anticipates a further significant, albeit more moderate increase in carryings of some 8 percent for 2016 compared to the previous year.
Because freight rates are expected to remain under pressure due to continuing overcapacities and weak economic development, it is anticipated that the shipping group’s turnover will stay roughly the same.
“In the current market environment, Hamburg Süd, like most of its competitors, is also exposed to strong downward pressure on earnings. The projects successfully launched last year to achieve sustainable cost reductions will, therefore, also be further stepped up in 2016 by, among other things, measures to cut fuel consumption, the implementation of further synergies and economies of scale as well as progressive efficiency increases in processes. Where required, capacity reductions will be undertaken in individual trades,” Hamburg Süd explained.
The company expects no fundamental improvement of the 2016 market environment in dry bulk shipping. For product tanker markets, the outlook for 2016 remains cautiously positive.
As of December 31, 2015, Hamburg Süd’s fleet comprised 189 vessels, up from 168 ships in 2014, 48 of which are group-owned. A total of 130 ships were deployed in the liner services and 59 in the tramp sector (bulk carriers, product tankers).
During the year, the Hamburg Süd Group took delivery of three more newbuilds of the “Cap San” class (10,600 TEU). Four vessels, each with a capacity of 3,800 TEU, were ordered for delivery in 2017.