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Robert.Jervis_43227 May 05

Record results for DP-DHL and Maersk in volatile market

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China & Ukraine add to complexity
The bonanza that so many of the large logistics companies are experiencing seems to be continuing with the just-published first quarter 2022 results of both DP DHL and Maersk seeing large increases in both revenues and profits.

For DP DHL, revenue grew 19.8% year-on-year to €22,593m whilst EBIT was €2,159m. A major reason for this jump in profits was a huge increase in the revenue at the ‘Global Forwarding, Freight’ business. This saw revenue leap by 54.9% to €7,359m and EBIT treble to €601m. For an operation that has been falling behind many of its competitors for several years, this may mark some sort of recovery. DHL Express, which is normally the best performer of DP DHL’s businesses, still put in respectable numbers, with a 15.9% rise in revenue to €6,373m but flat EBIT. DHL Supply Chain saw a 22.8% rise in EBIT. One of the problem areas was Post & Parcel, where the return to some post-Covid normality in Germany resulted in falls in business and a consequent -36.2% fall in EBIT.

Maersk experienced similar conditions but the effects of issues such as the war in Ukraine and the crisis in China had a greater effect. For the whole Group, revenue was up 55% year-on-year whilst EBITDA more than doubled to US$9.1bn. A major part of this was continued high profitability in container shipping despite falls in demand. Maersk commented that “loaded volumes decreased by 6.7%, primarily driven by lower back-haul volumes in Europe and in North America. The average loaded freight rates increased by 71%, driven by both contracts and shipment rates on routes from Asia to Europe and to North America”. Other parts of the business also did well again, despite mediocre demand levels. Logistics & Services saw a rise in EBITDA despite losses from closed investments in Russia but the Terminals business suffered an impairment of US$485m as a result of the write-off of investments in Russia, although the business saw record margins at the operational level of 40.3%.

These results are impressive for both companies, but caution should be applied in assessing their importance. The market remains volatile and dysfunctional and this is supporting high freight rates to a very significant degree.

Transport Intelligence