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Container lines post strong earnings/TEU in 2022: Sea-Intelligence analysis

Shipping lines reported very strong financial results for 2022, according to the latest report by the Danish maritime data analysis company Sea-Intelligence.

At the time of writing, 12 of the largest container carriers have published their financial results - minus CMA CGM, which did not publish EBIT, COSCO, ONE, PIL, and MSC, which is privately held and does not publish accounts.

The combined EBIT figure for the 12 lines having announced their EBIT figures in 2022-FY was US$95 billion and adding in these remaining carriers increases it to an estimated US$208 billion, according to Sea-Intelligence report.

However, the Danish analysts noted that there is a weakness in the market that is highlighted by a sharp contraction in transported volumes, while the freight rates, though higher Y/Y, also seem to have slowed down.

Source:, Sunday Spotlight, issue 607

The scale of the current profitability of the carriers can be seen in the figure, which shows the EBIT/TEU of the lines that report on these figures.

"While the larger shipping lines have close to doubled their EBIT/TEU, the smaller ones were only able to increase it by a relatively smaller margin," pointed out Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence, adding that "even then, the EBIT/TEU across the board continues to dwarf that of the previous years."

Furthermore, we can see that HMM reported the largest EBIT/TEU and was the only ocean carrier so far to record over 2,000 EBIT/TEU in 2022‑FY, followed by ZIM with 1,815 EBIT/TEU. The remaining shipping lines were within a range of 1,200‑1,600 EBIT/TEU.

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