In Issue 355 of the Sunday Spotlight, SeaIntel Maritime Analysis analysed carriers’ financial and volume results for 2017. The 2017 annual accounts show a considerable improvement over 2016, although not enough to be considered a full recovery of the current 8-year liner shipping crisis.
All of the reporting carriers recorded significant increases in their top line revenues in 2017, with growth rates ranging from 15.3 per cent (OOCL) to 47 per cent (Hapag-Lloyd), although much of the increase is likely due to the unprecedented level of industry consolidation, SeaIntel said in a release.
Seven carriers recorded positive EBIT results in 2017, while all reporting carriers saw EBIT improve in 2017 over 2016. The 2017 EBIT results seem to show a pattern where the largest carriers have seen the largest gains, and where the greatest improvements over 2016 are also recorded by the largest carriers.
CMA CGM recorded a 2017 EBIT result of $ 1.58 billion, more than double that of second-comer Maersk Line at $ 700 million and more than treble that of third-placed Hapag-Lloyd at $ 493 million. CMA CGM and Maersk Line have both racked up an impressive $ 6 billion combined EBIT result over the past seven years.
All reporting carriers recorded a two-year streak in volume growth, with CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd having grown their global volumes 141 per cent and 111 per cent, respectively, over the past 8 years.
While CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd would have seen their 2016 and 2017 volumes positively impacted by their acquisitions, the long-term strong volume growth of these two carriers cannot be explained by acquisitions alone, but must also be driven by strong organic growth. Maersk Line, OOCL and ZIM have grown their volumes 46-59 per cent over the past eight years, the release pointed out.
Commenting on the data, SeaIntel CEO, Mr Alan Murphy, said: “All-in-all, 2017 is a clear improvement over 2016, especially for the larger carriers, but the crisis has far from been averted, and the road to recovery is likely to be slow and difficult to climb.”