Five largest shipping companies see profits increase by over $40B in 2021

The top five shipping companies saw their profits increase by over $40 billion in 2021, according to a new analysis.

The report conducted by the progressive watchdog group Accountable.US found that the five largest companies — Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, COSCO Shipping, Evergreen Marine and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) — saw their profits surge by triple digit percentages following increased rates in the 2021 fiscal year. The companies’ collective profits now exceed $64.25 billion.

Maersk reported Tuesday that its revenue is up 55 percent to $19 billion, and that it anticipates increased shipping rates to “add approximately USD 10bn to revenue in 2022 compared to 2021” which will “more than offset the significant increase in costs.”

Accountable.US criticized the companies, saying they are benefitting while consumers are being hit with inflation.

“Major shipping companies like Maersk claim their rising rates that get passed onto consumers in a big way were needed to keep up with outside costs – but that simply doesn’t hold water,” Kyle Herrig, the president of Accountable.US, said in a statement.

“Why would the industry need to raise rates so high given their profits are up triple digit percentages over the last year and as they shower their investors and executives in new payouts and new bonuses? It’s part of a larger trend of corporations across every sector bragging of record profits to their investors yet dubiously claiming they have no choice but to raise consumer prices,” Herrig wrote.

The report found that all five companies benefited from higher rates in achieving their 2021 profits. The other four companies saw their profits jump by at least 600 percent as a result of the increased rates.

The Accountable.US analysis comes as shipping giants have received backlash from U.S. businesses for ballooning profit jumps as a result of high prices caused by port congestion.

U.S. exporters have claimed that the companies are piling them with unfair fees for failing to return cargo containers to ships due to intense congestion at ports. 

Tags Kyle Herrig shipping industry

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