In an environment characterized by strong fluctuations, the Hamburg Süd Group succeeded in significantly increasing its total turnover by 16.8 percent to EUR 6.06 billion. The main drivers were the successful 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 sharply 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. 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.
Due to global overcapacity, freight rates declined by roughly 16 percent. The resulting loss of revenue could only partially be offset in the liner division by falling fuel prices, and restrictive capacity and cost management. The result in this sector failed to meet expectations and must be described as less than satisfactory.
Bulk shipping was also characterized by very difficult market conditions. Due chiefly to China’s lower raw material imports, demand for shipping space remained static while global fleet growth rose once again on the previous year. As a result, the revenue generated fell sharply. Bulk shipping fell well short of the result planned for the reporting period. Only the product tanker segment achieved a satisfactory result. Capital spending totaled 437 million euros, putting it above the level of the previous year. The number of employees increased to 5,960 on an annual average due to growth.
As of December 31, 2015, Hamburg Süd’s fleet comprised 189 vessels (2014: 168), 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). In the course of 2015, the enhancement and modernization of the Hamburg Süd Group’s fleet was largely completed with the 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. The container pool increased by 22 percent to 562,000 units on an annual average.
Following the significant growth of shipment volume in liner shipping in the past fiscal year, Hamburg Süd anticipates a further significant, albeit more moderate increase in carryings of some 8 percent for 2016 compared to the previous year. The once again above-average increase in excess of market growth is based primarily on the capacities and market shares built up in the past fiscal year, which are to be maintained throughout 2016 and selectively further expanded. 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.