Strategy & Outlook

The prime objective of the Hapag-Lloyd Group is to achieve long-term profitable growth. Developments in the Group’s transport volume and the operating performance indicators EBITDA and EBIT serve as the basis for measuring whether the corporate objectives are met. Hapag-Lloyd aims to benefit from the market opportunities for organic growth while also strategically protecting its leading competitive position by utilising measures to increase its value in the context of consolidation within the industry.

The growing global demand for container transportation is the very foundation of the organic growth which Hapag-Lloyd hopes to achieve. IHS Global Insight (August 2017) has forecast a rise in global container shipments of 4.8% to around 140 million TEU in 2017 and a further 4.9% to approximately 146 million TEU in 2018. Hapag-Lloyd intends to increase the transport volume organically in line with market growth.

Five strategic projects have been implemented in the last few years to improve efficiency and cost structures. Hapag-Lloyd’s aim is to improve its profitability, based on the increasing effectiveness of the strategic measures. From 2017 onwards, the CUATRO and OCTAVE projects will deliver annual synergies, efficiency improvements and cost savings totalling approximately USD 600.0 million as against the comparable cost base in the 2014 financial year and assuming that external factors remain the same. Planned synergies and cost-saving programmes associated with the CUATRO and OCTAVE projects were implemented in full in the first quarter of 2017.

Furthermore, the performance-oriented corporate culture has been boosted, and value-adding investments carried out. Four of the five strategic projects have been completed as at the reporting date. With the fifth strategic project, “Compete to Win”, Hapag-Lloyd remains focused on improving quality of earnings.

Alongside the five strategic projects already implemented, the merger with UASC represents another major strategic step. It is anticipated that the synergies from the merger with UASC will contribute approximately USD 435 million per annum from the 2019 financial year onwards. The Executive Board of Hapag-Lloyd AG expects that the bulk of the synergies can be achieved in 2018.

To make use of external growth opportunities, a business combination agreement regarding the merging of container activities was signed with the Arab shipping company UASC on 15 July 2016. The legal merger between Hapag-Lloyd and UASC occurred on 24 May 2017 via a contribution in kind in exchange for the issuing of approximately 45.9 million new Hapag-Lloyd shares.

From the Hapag-Lloyd AG Executive Board’s perspective, the merger of the Hapag-Lloyd and UASC container shipping activities is expected to bring with it the following advantages:

  • Strengthened market position as one of the five largest container liner shipping companies (measured by the container transportation capacity of the fleet) in a container shipping
  • Industry characterised by further consolidation
  • Enhanced market presence in the attractive Middle East trade and solid position in all trades
  • Efficient and young fleet with a low level of investment needed
  • Annual synergies of approximately USD 435 million fully implemented in 2019
  • Strong partner in THE Alliance


Key benchmark figures for the 2017 outlook Outlook
Global economic growth (IMF) +3.6%
Increase in global trade (IMF)
Increase in global container transport volume (IHS) +4.8%
Transport volume, Hapag-Lloyd Group
Increasing clearly
Average bunker consumption, Hapag-Lloyd Group Increasing clearly
Average freight rate, Hapag-Lloyd Group Unchanged
EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation), Hapag-Lloyd Group Increasing clearly
EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes), Hapag-Lloyd Group Increasing clearly


The revenue and earnings forecast is based on the assumption of unchanged exchange rates.

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