Major shipping lines recorded a combined earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $41.6 billion for Q22022, and this is discounting CMA CGM that only issued a press release so far, which does not list EBIT, according to the latest update from Sea-Intelligence.

"This is not only higher than the combined Q2 EBIT of the past 11 years but is also right at the top with Q42021 and Q12022 EBIT. Once CMA CGM's EBIT is included in the list, Q22022 would likely become the most profitable quarter in the last decade.

"We should stress that we do not mean this as a value judgement on whether shipping lines making money is a good or a bad thing, and we note it has generally been an unprofitable business for the past decade or so. We are merely pointing out the unprecedented nature of the current market dynamics."

Figure 1 shows the EBIT/TEU for the carriers that publish both their EBIT and their global volumes. The Q22022 EBIT/TEU figure of each of these shipping lines, excluding CMA CGM, dwarfs each of the previous years "with the latter hardly relevant in context of the outsized EBIT/TEU numbers that we are seeing right now. These figures are backed by a Y/Y increase in freight rates in Q22022."

This level of profitability, however, might not continue into Q3 due to the fast-falling freight rates, and the slowdown in global demand, the update added.

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