Shipping article(s)
March 22, 2024
Photo by Andy Li on Unsplash

Ocean liners saw a decline in revenue last year due to excess capacity, but figures indicate a return to pre-pandemic profitability, according to a new Sea-Intelligence report.


"In 2023-FY, all shipping lines saw a sharp year-on-year (Y/Y) decline in revenues, ranging between -46.6% and -62.6%," the report said.


"However, the annualised revenue growth rate in 2023-FY is in line with 2018-2019, which suggests that the sharp Y/Y revenue decline in 2023-FY is an artefact of the abnormal revenue growth of 2021-2022 rather than a fundamental revenue loss in 2023" it added.


Sea-Intelligence noted that ZIM, Yang Ming, and Wan Hai all recorded EBIT losses in 2023-FY.


But while four shipping lines had an EBIT of over US$1 billion, the report said what is clear is that profitability levels are nowhere near those in 2021-2022.


"EBIT per TEU is one way to visualise profitability," Sea-Intelligence said.


Self Photos / Files - image (4)

 [Source: Sea-Intelligence]


Self Photos / Files - image (5)

[Source: Sea-Intelligence]

"Figure 1 shows EBIT for 2010-2023 and shows the unprecedented levels of the 2021-2022 pandemic period, whereas Figure 2 cuts off the y-axis at +/- 300 USD/TEU to show the developments in 2023," it added.


The report noted that so far, it has the EBIT/TEU data for 5 shipping lines (COSCO and OOCL haven’t published yet, and CMA CGM does not publicly publish EBIT anymore).


It said that although Maersk's EBIT/TEU of US$94/TEU is significantly lower than in 2021-2022, it is still higher than most of the pre-pandemic years, whereas, for Hapag-Lloyd (US$235/TEU), it is the highest outside of 2021-2022.


The report noted that for ONE (US$116/TEU), Sea-Intelliegence does not have a pre-pandemic reference point.


"While for HMM, their 2023-FY EBIT/TEU of US$119/TEU is lower than in 2020 but is still better than in 2011-2019 (where they were not profitable at all)," Sea-Intelligence said.


"ZIM’s EBIT/TEU loss of -US$765/TEU is driven by a 'non-cash impairment loss of US$2.06 billion recorded in the third quarter," the report added.

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