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HAMBURG: Hamburg Süd reports a "modest 2.3 percent" increase in volume to 3.375 million TEU in 2014. The ocean carrier says it achieved a "positive, albeit less than satisfactory result" from liner services despite difficult market conditions.

Capital expenditure was €348 million last year, 23 percent lower than 2013, and mainly comprised deposits and final payments for 10 ships of between 4,800 and 9,600 TEU. Another three 'Cap San' newbuilds (right) are scheduled for delivery in 2015.

Cap San AugustinAt the end of March Hamburg Süd took over the liner services of Compañía Chilena de Navegación Interoceánica (CCNI) between the west coast of South America and between Asia, North America and Europe. In addition to an increase of nearly 300,000 TEU in capacity, the company says it will achieve market leadership on "certain lanes" and is developing routes on which it has not previously operated.

Despite the cost of CCNI integration that will complete by the end of the first half of 2015, Hamburg Süd says it expects higher operating results for the year as a result of favorable exchange rates and lower fuel costs. Collaboration with UASC has also enabled the carrier to reduce its dependency on South America.

Although the IMF forecasts a 3.7 percent rise in global trade, the company says this does not imply a sustained recovery of container liner services in the coming year. On the back of low interest rates and fresh money it sees an eight percent rise in net slot growth in 2015.

The carrier warns that while positive results in box trades can be expected this year from falling bunker prices, "the industry will see sustained earnings improvements only if strict cost and capacity management is accompanied by sustained discipline in terms of rates."

Meanwhile its investments in more efficient ships has not only reduced operating costs but also contributed to a 29 percent reduction in CO2 emissions in 2014 – keeping the ocean carrier on track to achieve a 45 percent reduction by 2020 compared to a 2009 base line.

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