Rolf Habben Jansen – CEO, give you a brief update about the development within the last few months and also how we strive to optimize scarce resources and provide you with proper solutions within the next weeks and months to come.

During the past months the entire liner shipping industry, but also other logistics providers, have experienced a strongly recovered demand, exceeding by far the anticipated volumes. The significant upturn was initially driven by a US-based demand surge on the Transpacific, but other trade lanes followed suit.

Hapag-Lloyd reacted and brought back sailings and capacity, so that by October 2020 the weekly capacity was restored in the vast majority of the trades and in some trades capacity even increased with up to 10% higher compared to previous year.

The unexpected demand recovery and a decrease in container production has led the container availability to drop significantly. At Hapag-Lloyd, we implemented measures ahead of time by starting to stock up on additional containers as early as May of last year. We have in 2020 added approximately 300,000 TEU to our container fleet. Also in Q1 we continue to add more boxes to our fleet, but that currently gives only limited relief since boxes are turned significantly slower than normal.

Due to the very high demand we experience increasing delays due to heavy port congestions. Labor shortages and work interruptions in certain ports and various inland bottlenecks exacerbate the situation. As a consequence of this ships are waiting in line significantly longer than normal in Asian, North American and also in some other ports, leading to vessels being days and in many cases more than a week behind their normal schedule.

In past years we have always been able to react to congestion by adding recovery vessels to ensure that we continued to offer a weekly service, however as our fleets are fully deployed and stretched beyond capacity this is regretfully currently only possible to a limited extent.

Let me assure you: all our vessels are sailing, and if we can find additional capacity we will secure it, but the charter ship market is at the moment basically sold out.

We are implementing a comprehensive schedule recovery plan to get vessels back in their intended positions. This will result in some services not having a sailing for one to two weeks. It is important to emphasize that vessels will not be idling at any time and we will perform as many voyages as possible.

Hapag-Lloyd currently receives many more bookings than we have space available. The overwhelming amount of additional bookings causes in some cases delays in booking confirmations, cargo being rolled, and rejections.

We currently have all hands on deck to meet your requirements. We are working tirelessly 24/7 on further improving our automated and manual booking processes, internally and externally.

In 2020 I had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of customers during a live chat. Your input was and is highly appreciated and invaluable for further improving the way of working together with you. I very much look forward to hear from you in our sessions on 5 February 2021 at 9 AM (CET) and 8 February 2021 at 5 PM (CET). 

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Rolf Habben Jansen

Chief Executive Officer