The modest 2 percent increase in cargo volumes is attributed to the less-than-expected improvement to the market overcapacity and a weak economic development of the carrier’s key markets in South America.
"Hamburg Süd and its Brazilian subsidiary Aliança were able to increase transport volume by 2 per cent only to around 3.4 million TEU (1 TEU = 20 foot standard container). With freight rates falling and a weak US dollar as the most important earnings currency, total sales fell at the same time by around 1 per cent to EUR 5.2 billion. Results from liner operations remained positive, albeit significantly lower than in the previous year," says a press statement.
Not least driven by the declining economic momentum in China, bulk shipping once again had to contend with difficult market conditions in 2014 and was unable to move out of the red.
The number of staff employed by the shipping Group grew by 4 per cent compared to the previous year to 5,360 employees (including 1,383 crew and excluding trainees).
Capital expenditures stood at EUR 348 million, which was 23 per cent lower than in the previous year, and were financed entirely from cash flow. These mainly comprise deposits and final payments for ten ships of between 4,800 and 9,600 TEU.
As at 31 December 2014, the Hamburg Süd fleet comprised a total of 168 ships, 46 of which were owned by the Group. Of these, 112 ships were deployed on liner services and 56 chartered-in ships were employed in tramp operations (bulkers, product tankers). As in the previous year, the fleet was expanded by additional ships in the “Cap San” series with a capacity of 9,600 TEU each.
These were complemented by additional ships in the “San” class with a capacity of 9,000 TEU and a high number of reefer slots for refrigerated containers. This brings the number of ships in service with a slot capacity of at least 9,000 TEU to 13, mainly deployed with their large reefer capacity on the Asia–Europe and Europe–South American East coast routes.