Three Questions to Our CEO Rolf Habben Jansen

Jan 7, 2020 | Corporate Member News

The Christmas holidays are now behind us, and the new year is here. And that brings up the question: What will be the most important issues facing the container shipping industry in the next 12 months? Our CEO, Rolf Habben Jansen, has some answers.


Q: Rolf, 2020 will be an important year for the container shipping industry. For example, the new fuel regulations are now in effect. What will the so-called IMO2020 regulations mean for shipping?

RHJ: You’re right. 2020 will be an important year! Since the first of January, we have only been allowed to use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5 percent. On the one hand, this marks a milestone for the entire industry on its path to becoming more eco-friendly. On the other hand, the new cap also presents a major challenge to container shipping companies. The costs involved in converting vessels and using the new fuel will be high. Since the lion’s share of our fleet will sail with the new low-sulphur fuel oil, we expect additional costs of around 1 billion US dollars per year.

Q: What are some other issues that the industry will be dealing with?

RHJ: In addition to IMO2020, environmental and climate protection will play an important role. For example, with its “Green Deal”, the European Commission is considering extending emissions trading to the shipping industry. This means that shipping companies would have to pay for their CO2 emissions in the future. In this should happen, the question will be: Which sustainable, alternative fuels can be made available to the industry in order to reduce CO2 emissions, meet regulatory requirements and cut costs? And we live in times that continue to be turbulent in political terms. Trade conflicts can have an impact on trade routes, and they can steer global economic growth in one direction, but also in the other. We will have to live with these possible fluctuations and manage them as best we can.

Q: Where do you think Hapag-Lloyd will be heading in 2020?

RHJ: A year and a half ago, we adopted our Strategy 2023 and set ourselves the goal of becoming the number one for quality among carriers. We are continuing to pursue this goal. In the near future, we will publish a set of quality promises by which we will be measured going forward. We will continue to invest heavily in digital products and services. And we will continue to concentrate on expanding our business in growth regions, such as Africa, the Middle East and India.

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