March 20, 2020 / 10:19 AM / 20 days ago

Hapag-Lloyd sounds warning on coronavirus but sees chances of rebound

FILE PHOTO: A Hapag-Lloyd container is pictured at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg Germany July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd (HLAG.DE) said the coronavirus crisis was expected to hurt activities especially strongly in May and June but falling fuel costs should help lessen financial impact on the company, which had set aside additional finance to lend help.

Chief Executive Rolf Habben Jansen said in a call with reporters that big export volumes were leaving European ports only now, so that possible effects of empty returns would be felt later, while Asian ports were already staging a recovery.

“We have had a decent month of (cargo bookings) for April,” he said, adding that volumes across the entire year could even increase. “There will be a need for restocking.”

The company, the world’s fifth largest container line, earlier reported strong profit increases for 2019.

Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Riham Alkousaa

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