“We are doing our utmost to support our employees and serve our customers during these tough times”

The spread of COVID-19 is presenting a challenge to all of us around the world. CEO Rolf Habben Jansen explains what measures Hapag-Lloyd it taking to protect its employees while keeping the business running and serving customers at the same time.

The coronavirus is a challenge for many companies around the globe. What is Hapag-Lloyd doing to protect its employees?

The safety and health of our families, colleagues and business partners are of paramount significance to us. Nothing is more important. That is why we have taken a variety of measures to help minimise the risk of infections. We have asked as many colleagues as possible to work from home. We have equipped all staff with additional modern IT infrastructure and new collaboration tools. We have cancelled our attendance at trade shows and postponed all business travel. Our crews are not changing ships in high-risk areas, and additional safety measures are being implemented on board our vessels.

In recent weeks, we have seen the coronavirus have a significant impact on the global economy. With logistics being at the heart of global trade, what consequences do you expect for the industry?

The whole situation will have an impact on our industry, such as in terms container volumes in the months ahead. Nevertheless, the crisis has had only limited impact on our business so far. Our vessels are currently operating as usual, and our service structure is largely unchanged. If things do change, we might have to make some adjustments to the network. But, for the time being, it’s difficult to make any reliable predictions on the effects of the coronavirus. There are indications that there is going to be some type of short-term slowdown, but we can’t say how long its effects will last. Thanks to our fairly conservative financial policy, we are in a good position to withstand the current challenges. We significantly improved our profitability and reduced debt in 2019. This is allowing us to take some extra precautionary financial measures to ensure that even if the crisis persists longer than we expect today, we will be able to continue offering our customers the services and products they need.

Speaking of customers, they also find themselves in quite troubled waters at the moment. How is Hapag-Lloyd approaching this, and how are you supporting your customers?

Together with our customers and the entire logistics industry, we play a crucially important role in keeping the supply chains running and mitigating the consequences of the current COVID-19 crisis. As many of our customers are also working remotely these days, we are focusing on making business with us as smooth and easy as possible. With this in mind, we have launched a campaign to showcase the benefits of our digital tools along the entire customer journey. With our unique digital self-service solutions, our customers can find information, get a quotation, make bookings, handle documentation and shipments, and track them from anywhere in the world at any time. This is how we can help our customers to keep their businesses running and to navigate through these stormy waters with less complexity and more speed.  

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