Q4 2023 ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd Earnings Call
Elana Holzman; Head of IR; ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.
Eliyahu Glickman; President & CEO; ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.
Xavier Destriau; Executive VP & CFO; ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.
Alexia Dogani; Research Analyst; Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division
Omar Mostafa Nokta; Equity Analyst; Jefferies LLC, Research Division
Samuel James Bland; Research Analyst; JPMorgan Chase & Co, Research Division
Sathish Babu Sivakumar; VP & Analyst; Citigroup Inc., Research Division
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for standing by. I'm (inaudible) your Chorus call operator. Welcome, and thank you for joining the ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Q4 and Full Year 2022 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions)
I would now like to turn the conference over to Elana Holzman, Head of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.
Thank you, operator, and welcome to Zim's Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Financial Results Conference Call. Joining me on the call today are Eliyahu Glickman, ZIM's President and CEO; and Xavier Destriau, ZIM's CFO.
Before we begin, I would like to remind you that during the course of this call, we will make forward-looking statements regarding expectations, predictions, projections or future events or results. We believe that our expectations and assumptions are reasonable. We wish to caution you that such statements reflect only the company's current expectations, and that actual events or results may differ, including materially. You are kindly referred to consider the risk factors and cautionary language described in the documents the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our 2022 annual report filed on Form 20-F today, March 13, 2023. We undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
At this time, I would like to turn the call over to ZIM's CEO, Eliyahu Glickman. Eli?
Thank you, Elana, and welcome to everyone to today's call. Slide #3, 2022 was a record year for ZIM in terms of EBITDA and EBIT results. We delivered adjusted EBITDA of $7.5 billion, an adjusted EBIT of $6.1 billion, 14% and 6% higher than 2021, respectively. For the year, adjusted EBITDA margin reached 60%, and adjusted EBIT margin reached 49%. The development of our quarterly results in 2022 reflect changing market dynamics throughout the year.
Q1 2022 was our best quarter ever with respect to all financial and operational parameters. And since then, our quarterly results have declined sequentially with Q4 2022 results dramatically reflecting the negative impact of the decline in freight rates. I'm incredibly proud to present these results today and of the ZIM team for the exceptional execution in delivering these record results and meeting our 2022 guidance, especially considering the evolving market conditions.
Slide 4. We haven't been idle for the past 2 years. As we benefit from highly lucrative market conditions, we took important steps to best position ZIM to execute in a more normalized market environment, improve our cost structure to ensure that ZIM is optimizing its performance for the benefit of our shareholders and creating sustainable value over the long term.
Most important was our decision to adapt our vessel chartering strategy with secured cost competitive and fuel-efficient newbuild capacity in a sales of chartering agreements to support our commercial strategy. This agreement include vessel ranging from our flagship 15,000 TEU LNG fuel vessels intendant to our Asia to U.S. East Coast service to smaller, more versatile 5,000 and 7,000 TEU vessels.
Notably, as we replace smaller vessels with large one, our cost per TEU will decline, driving improvements to our cost structure throughout 2023 and beyond. This will allow ZIM to competitively operate in lower freight rate market and weaker demand environment and maintain our objective of maintaining positive EBIT.
Our chartering strategy also underscore our ESG target, 28 of our 46 newbuild vessel we secured our LNG-powered, making us an industry leader in terms of low carbon intensity. The 15,000 TEU vessels are ideally suited to serve on our core Asia to U.S. East Coast service, and we are the first liner to operate LNG vessels on this [tree]. This is a significant commercial differentiation, which enable us to immediately reduce the carbon footprint of ZIM and our customers.
Next, our global new strategy and customer-centric approach remains the foundation of our commercial strategy. Our customer relationships drive everything we do at ZIM, and we continue to make progress, enhancing our customer experience. We continuously work to enhance our digital offering and employ strict KPIs to ensure we maintain the highest service quality while preserving our personal touch. We focus on special cargo, high-value services.
We continue to invest and improve our sales tools to support our profitability objectives. We also strengthen our local presence in important markets such as Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam. Our commercial presence today is more diversified as we focus on trade where we can establish a competitive position. We continuously review our services and strive to improve our network for the benefit of our customers. As market conditions involved to adapt our services, open new lines, modified rotation and suspend loss-making services. Recent example of these changes include a new premium line from South America West Coast to U.S. East Coast, in which we redeployed vessels previously deployed in Intra-Asia services.
A new service, covering major ports in Southeast Asia and Australia, -- rotation changed to our Express Asia Baltimore ZXB service and suspension of ZEX, our Asia to LA Express service. These changes are proof of our agile approach aimed at providing streamline services to our customers as well as responding swiftly to changing market dynamics. We also recently established a joint venture with the largest domestic shipping company in Vietnam, High-end Shipping Services. We have discussed the potential we believe this market holds, and this joint venture uniquely positions ZIM to serve local importance and exporters and more effectively connect local services with our international network. This joint venture will allow us to better serve manufacturers shifting from China to Vietnam as well as potentially target the extending Cambodia and large international trade.
We also identified a commercial opportunity in the car carrier market, in which strong demand and tight supply have resulted in positive market dynamics. We currently operate 11 car carriers with plans to expand to 16 vessels by midyear.
Turning to our growth engine complementary to our core shipping activities. We continue to explore opportunities in early-stage companies, introducing disruptive technologies in shipping and broader ecosystem. Most recently, we participated in equity and debt financing (inaudible), an innovative FinTech platform designed to modernize cross-border trade financing. By using AI tools, Fortis streamlines the credit application process and can offer small- and medium-sized importance and exporters faster and cheaper access to working capital financing needs than traditional financial institutions.
Moreover, Fortis represents a unique financing solution that we will very soon offer to our customer as well primarily via our digital freight forwarder, ship forward. The valuable synergies between ship forward and Fortis, and we are pleased to be able to offer our SME customers a new and innovative digital financing solution designed to assist them to grow their business. A positive development, which may benefit (inaudible), one of our early investment, is the recent decision by the Digital Container Shipping Association, the DCSA, that was established in 2019 by most of the largest shipping companies with the objective of establishing IT standards for our industry.
Together, the (inaudible) represent over 70% of the global container shipping trade. This is -- this year's SA members recently announced their commitment to reaching 15% electronics bill of lading we see in 5 years and 100% by the year 2030. As you may recall, ZIM first introduced electronic bill of lading to its customers through the Wave bill solution back in 2017. And today, other major shipping companies are also offering the Wave solution to their customers. We are active investors in all our portfolio companies as we leverage our expertise, know-how network to support these companies.
We believe our portfolio of companies hold significant potential in the future. Our goal is to build financial resilience in our business, stay focused on our strategy and leverage our core strengths and ensure ZIM is best positioned for a more volatile and uncertain market. We intend to employ our significant cash resources cautiously to support our future profitable growth. The actions that I ever outlined are aimed at advanced ZIM primary objective to use our strengths to grow profitably and maximize value to our shareholders.
Going to Slide #5. Despite the current rate environment and challenging macro and industry dynamics, we are confident in our strategy and expect positive EBIT in 2023. As such, for the full year, we expect to generate adjusted EBITDA between $1.8 billion to $2.2 billion, and adjusted EBIT between $100 million to $500 million. Our CFO, Xavier, will shortly discus the underlying assumption of our guidance and current market environment in greater detail. Based on our strong full year results and confidence in our strategy, our board declared a Q4 dividend of approximately $769 million or $6.4 per share. This brings our total dividend part on account of 2022 results to $2.04 billion or 44 percentage of total '22 net income. Returning substantial capital to shareholders remain a priority as we seek to create long-term value and enable shareholders to directly benefit from our results.
On that note, I will turn the call over to Xavier, our CFO, for his remarks on our financial results and additional comments on the market. Xavier, please?
Thank you, Eli, and again, welcome to everyone. On this slide, we present our key financial and operational highlights. As Eli, already mentioned, 2022 was a year of exceptional financial performance for ZIM, even with the pace of normalization accelerating during the latter part of the year. Despite the deteriorating market, ZIM generated record revenue of $12.6 billion in 2022, and that is to be compared to $10.7 billion in 2021, a 17% improvement.
During the year, our average freight rate per TEU was $3,240, 16% higher than in 2021 as we benefited from the elevated freight rate environment for the majority of the year. In Q4, our average freight rate per TEU was $2,122, a 42% decline year-over-year and 37% decline from the prior quarter. Our free cash flow in the fourth quarter totaled $1 billion compared to $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Turning to our balance sheet. Total debt increased by $1 billion since prior year-end. And as in recent quarters, this was mainly driven by the increased number of vessel fixtures, longer-term charter duration as well as higher daily chartering rates. Regarding our fleet, we currently operate today 152 vessels, out of which 12 are car carriers.
The average remaining duration of our current charter capacity is 27.3 months essentially unchanged from November 2022. I would note that our current fleet includes 5 newbuild vessels, 4 of 12,000 TEU capacity and 1 of 15,000 TEU, which is the first of the series of the 15,000 TEU LNG vessels that we ordered in 2021. We have 22 vessels up for charter renewal during the remainder of the year with 36 up for renewal in 2024. This means that we have a total of 58 vessels up for renewal compared to the expected delivery of 41 chartered newbuild vessels during the same time period.
Moving on to the next slide, you can see that we delivered strong results over the last 2-plus years. And as a result, our net leverage ratio has trended downward at the same time and currently stands at 0 as of December 31, 2022, as we end the year in a net cash position.
Turning to our fourth quarter and full year financial performance. Fourth quarter net income was $417 million compared to $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter of last year. Adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter was $973 million compared to $2.4 billion in Q4 2021.
For the full year, net income was $4.63 billion compared to $4.65 billion in 2021, and adjusted EBITDA was $7.5 billion compared to $6.6 billion in 2021. Lower margin sequentially, the second half of 2022 versus the first half, as well as Q4 versus Q3, are driven primarily by lower revenue.
Turning to Slide 9. We carried 823,000 TEUs in the fourth quarter compared to 858,000 TEUs during the same period last year, a decline of 4% compared to the market decline of 8.5%. And for the full year, we carried 3.4 million TEU, there is a 3% decline compared to 2021, slightly better than the market decline of 4% in that quarter -- sorry, in the full year period. Lower volume on transpacific, driven by congestion and lower demand, were partially offset by higher volume in other trade lanes.
Next, we present our cash flow bridge. And we ended 2022 with a total liquidity position of $4.6 billion. Important here to emphasize that this includes cash and cash equivalents. investments in bank deposits and other investment instruments.
For the full year, our adjusted EBITDA of $7.5 billion converted into $6.1 billion of cash flow generated from operating activities. And other cash flow items included $314 million of net capital expenditure, $1.7 billion of debt service, mostly lease liabilities, and dividend distribution of $3.3 billion.
Moving to our guidance. As Eli already mentioned, we expect to generate positive EBIT in 2023. Specifically, we expect to generate in 2023 EBITDA of $1.8 billion to $2.2 billion and an EBIT range between $100 million to $500 million. We believe freight rates are close to bottom, and we expect some improvement in 2023.
Further, we also expect our volumes to grow in 2023 as compared to last year, as we receive our newbuild capacity and are able to better optimize our fleet. As for bunker costs, we expect lower rates this year versus last year. Overall, while we don't give quarterly guidance, we do expect improved results in the second half of 2023 as compared to the first half. So we are entering this unpredictable time with a strong balance sheet, a significant cash balance of $4.6 billion and 0 net leverage.
As such, our Board of Directors declared a dividend to shareholders, which including prior dividends paid on account of 2022 results totaled 44% of 2022 net income. We do remain committed to returning capital to shareholders under our current dividend policy of returning to shareholders 30% to 50% of our annual net income. Other capital allocation priorities remain intact. We have a commitment of approximately $155 million and $340 million in '23 and '24, respectively, as down payments for newbuild vessels chartered primarily from Seaspan, of which we already paid $13 million for the first 15,000 TEU ship delivered to us last month.
We will continue to renew our container fleet and we continue to explore inorganic growth through the potential acquisition of regional liners in key markets such as Southeast Asia or Latin America. The backdrop against we are providing guidance today is extremely challenging. The supply demand imbalance points to oversupply in '23 and '24.
Demand is soft. And as a result, congestion in U.S. ports and elsewhere hasn't won. Despite lower volumes in recent months, inventory to sales ratio was still below pre-pandemic level, has not come down and various large U.S. retailers expressed caution with respect to their 2023 sales. These factors, among others, are causing freight rates to continue sliding, though at a slower pace as compared to the fall of 2022. Yet there may be factors on both the supply and demand side that could mitigate the supply-demand imbalance.
Capacity may be impacted by slippage. In fact, we've received indications with respect to some of our chartered newbuild vessels on potential delays. Scrapping also remains low, but the combination of practically no scrapping in the past 2 years and increased compliance requirement with IMO 2023 regulation may also decrease net supply.
On the demand side, we believe that in 2023, we will see a return to a more normal demand pattern with demand stronger in the second half of the year, especially given the current weak demand.
And on this note, we will open the call for questions.
Question and Answer Session
(Operator Instructions) The first question is coming from Nokta Omar from Jefferies. Please go ahead and ask your question.
Omar Mostafa Nokta
Yes, definitely earnings coming in stronger than a lot of us had expected. And I just wanted to ask maybe about the -- if you could expand just a little bit about the earnings surprise, perhaps, the other revenue line item, I guess the non-container portion of the revenue, those were their highest ever at $442 million. What's behind the upwards move there? And what can we kind of expect as we move here in the next several quarters?
Sure. Thank you, Omar, for the question. As far as we are concerned, the Q4 results did not surprise us and we are pretty much in sync with the guidance that we provided the market with back in November. But to your question with respect to the contribution of non-containerized income, we did benefit still in the fourth quarter from 2 strong factors. First, detention and demurrage, especially relevant on the transpacific trade lanes and in the U.S. were still quite high. We still experienced congestion in Q4, although now this has pretty much didn't wind itself.
And second, when it comes to our car carrier activity, we've been growing, and we continue to grow our presence in this market, and it has contributed to also a significant impact on our revenue and also on our bottom line. And we expect the car carrier activity to continue to contribute positively to our earnings next year and in the years to come.
Omar Mostafa Nokta
Got it. And then maybe just kind of big picture. Clearly, from the press release, the presentation and your comments here, you at ZIM, you feel very confident despite the soft market we're seeing today, which you'll have positive EBIT and maybe perhaps positive earnings, I guess, overall for '23. I guess as we kind of think about the market as it is today, how would you characterize things as I already mentioned that you expect rates to be at bottom here in the near term and the recovery coming. What's going on in the market from say, -- from your perspective, from say the demand angle, are we seeing an actual substantial drop in demand? Or is this more of an unwinding of retail inventory and thus, we may not really have a good clear picture of where demand is until that inventory unwinds completely?
No, that's a good question. There is clearly a lot of uncertainties ahead. And you said that we are confident. I would say that we are confident in the actions that we took in 2021 and in 2022 to make sure that we are well prepared to enter into this new normal post-pandemic. And so our cost structure is going down, and this is the one lever where we can have an action upon that we've been very active in ensuring that we drive the cost down. So that we've done.
And now when it comes to the demand, clearly, we've seen the demand softening throughout the second half of last year. We've seen a destocking type of strategy by the main retailers in the U.S. that was very aggressively performed in the fourth quarter and into the first quarter of this year of 2023. With that, you've seen that the capacity has been adjusted with more and more blank savings. But as we were implementing more blank savings the demand was still softening even more. So we believe that at some point, this destocking effect will end and the retailers will have to come back and replenish their inventories. Hence, why we are reasonably optimistic when it comes to the statement that we are making. We think that the market is close to reaching a bottom before the demand starts to come back. And as a result, we expect that will have a positive effect on the overall freight rates.
Omar Mostafa Nokta
And maybe just one final one, just about the contracting that's hopefully are potentially underway now. How are things developing here for the 2023 contracting season. Clearly, there's been a big disconnect between contract rates historically and where spot rates are. What's going on in that market? And how are you preparing for that?
Yes. Clearly, the market today, when we look at where the (inaudible) trade lane kind of pushes the shippers to ask for a significant rate reduction compared to last year and we very well understand that. So the one thing I would say is that the company is, -- has engaged with most of our key customers with whom we would like to enter into a contract settlement, both from a quantity perspective and from a rate perspective.
First, what we are hearing today from our customer base is that they are very pleased with them, and then -- and we hear a lot of positive feedback and comments on the fact -- on the very fact that we are the first liner to deploy in LNG service on the Asia to the U.S. East Coast. And that resonates very strongly to vis-a-vis our customer base. So now we do hope that it will translate into the final discussions on the rate to levels where we would both shippers and ourselves, be happy. We clearly haven't set ourselves a limit in terms of where we are not willing to go in terms of floor. For now, the discussions are ongoing. It's still too early to say what will be the final outcome of all those decisions. But clearly, we feel that from a commercial positioning perspective, the name and the brand of ZIM resonates pretty high in the eyes of our customers in the U.S.
Omar Mostafa Nokta
Got it. And sorry, just one tiny follow-up to that is, are you able to give a ratio or percentage of how much of your 23 business you've got under contract so far?
We are still looking into 50-50 and the ratio that we've been during by over the past few years, a 50% contract cargo and 50% spot is still pretty much where we would like to end. But again, we will see where we end when we finalize each of the discussions with each of our customers. And if the rates are not satisfactory to our sales, we might revisit that percentage allocation and agree to expose ourselves more to spot market. We think that the second half is going to be indeed better than the first.
Omar Mostafa Nokta
Okay. And just for clarity, the 50-50 is just on the transpacific.
Correct. Correct. This is really the trade where we have a significant amount of our volume that is being contracted. We feel on the other trade lanes and mainly on the Asia Med, we also have a contract discussion with customers, but those are more quarterly as opposed to yearly. And in terms of quantum, I would say it's 25% of the trade compared to the 50% of the transpacific.
The next question is coming from Bland Sam from JPMorgan.
Samuel James Bland
It's Sam Bland here. I have 2 questions, please. The first one is on the charters you mentioned the sort of maturity profile. Is your current plan to let them run to maturity on the sort of agreed time scale? Or are there any options to either accelerate or delay -- how are you thinking about that?
And the second question is you mentioned slippage of the order book in the presentation. We've heard that from Eliyahu as well. Do you think it's possible that the slippage could be quite a material amount of the orders or the deliveries planned for '23, '24? Or are we talking about sort of small bits around the edges?
Good morning to you, Sam. Yes, the first question in terms of the charter. Clearly, we need to differentiate here, I think, the long-term charter, the newbuild vessels that we've ordered over the past 2 years. So those -- clearly, we intend to take delivery of each and every vessel. We are eagerly awaiting those vessels. They are clearly in line with our vessel strategy and commercial strategy. So there is here no intention from the company to cancel delay any of those contracts.
On the more traditional charter market when we charter from the tonnage provider existing tonnage as opposed to the newbuild tonnage that I was just referring to. In '21, '22, we did enter into a significant amount of contract for a duration of 3 to 5 years. So by and large, this is what is driving the average duration of what's left in our chartering agreement. So meaning that between '23, '24, we have a few vessels up for renewal, but it will really come back in 2025 and beyond -- yes, 2025 and beyond.
Now when we look at the vessels that come up for renewal in '23 and in '24, that's clearly a 50 vessels. Most of them, it is very likely, depending on what the market does, but if the market conditions remain difficult, most of those vessels will be redelivered. We do not intend to break any of our commitment vis-a-vis any of the tonnage provider. We will make the decision to redeliver tonnage when we have the ability to do so or engage early with some tonnage provider to potentially discuss extension if we think and at a lower rate, obviously, if we think that this said vessel is -- will be of use for us for a longer period.
With respect to your second point and slippage, it's difficult to assess to what extent it will have a significant impact. Clearly, for us, we are very much in front of that matter because we are awaiting the 15,000 TEU ships that we've ordered out of the (inaudible) of those ships initially were expected to be delivered in 2023. We have received the first one. We know that we will receive the second and the third in the coming weeks.
But we've been advised that there might be a delay for some of the vessels that were meant to be delivered to us in 2023 from that very specific shipyard. So we do think that some of the shipyards in Asia do have manpower or resource issue which is affecting us. There's no reason to think that it is not more widely affecting the overall industry. When it comes to the other vessels that we have up for delivery towards the end of the year and the 2024. Today, we don't know yet, but we anticipate that there might be as well some delay.
Samuel James Bland
Okay. Just to be sure, on the first answer, when you say redelivered, so your current charter will be redelivered, does that mean handed back to the charter?
Correct, to the (inaudible).
The next question is coming from Sathish Sivakumar.
Sathish Babu Sivakumar
I've got 3 questions here. So firstly, on the restocking, right? So obviously, there has been this sense of opinion that volumes are looking -- at is the trends into the second half of the year looking great. Are we seeing signs of recovery? And what are you actually seeing based on your conversation with the shippers? And how does it actually differ from, say, normal seasonality related movements that you normally get at on this point in the year?
And the second one is actually around the 2M alliance. Obviously, with the merge coming out of the alliance, what does it mean for you within 2M? How much of your DSA is actually related to Maersk, what is your exposure to Maersk versus MSC? And then, say, into the dividend payment for FY '23, given that we might see a second step down on normalization, would you still stick with your quarterly dividend payments given potentially there will be quarters where you could probably end up loss making. What are your thoughts around the quarterly dividend payment?
Thank you, Sathish. So with regard to your first question on potential restocking, we -- this is really early days to come to a definite conclusion as to when the volume or the demand will come back up.
But clearly, we are getting some early indication and early signs that the inventories and once the inventories have come down to the level where the main retailers want them to be, the demand will be surfaced. And that from a seasonality perspective, also indeed collide in the first quarter of 2023, with the traditional flag season that is the period in terms of ordering and demand affecting the trailings where we operate.
So today, in the early days of 2023, we have the combination of those 2 element, which is the destocking and the slack season. Hence why, again, we truly do believe that we are near to a bottom in terms of demand and therefore, in terms of potential rate in some trade lanes.
When it comes to the second question, the 2M and the breakup or the future breakup of the alliance between Maersk and MSC, I think, by and large, this doesn't come as a significant surprise for all of us that have been watching this industry and how everyone is pursuing different strategies.
As far as we are concerned, we have been collaborating with both of them, and we do collaborate with both of them on the transpacific trading, obviously, but also individually on some other trades. Our relationship with Maersk and with MSC is extremely good. We have benefited, and I think all of us did benefit from working together over the past 5 years now or 4 years, should I say, we started in 2018 in the summer.
And we intend to continue to discuss with all the major shipping lines on the trade where we do believe it makes sense from a company perspective, from an industry perspective and from an end customer perspective to better utilize and better operate our fleet. So we are an important player in terms of market share on the transpacific and we see no reason why we will not continue to work with Maersk, with MSC, with both of them, with one of them in the longer term. For now, the relationship is still very strong and very efficient up until, I think, January 2025 is the date when they will part ways.
And with respect to your last question on dividend. Yes, it's been very important since day 1 for the company to return significant capital to shareholders. And we've been, I think, true to that statement since day 1. We -- for now, there's no reason to think that our dividend policy may change. As of today, it stands as it is.
As you know, every quarter, no matter what, irrespective of the dividend policy, the Board makes a decision and renews a decision every quarter as to what is the dividend that is due to be paid. So we'll see where we end in 2023, every quarter, the discussion will take place at Board level.
Sathish Babu Sivakumar
Just a follow-up on the comment on Maersk and MSC. So would you mean to say that into 2025 or beyond that, you would still work with both MSC and Maersk on an individual basis?
What I'm saying is I don't know whether we will. I see no reason to think today that we won't. That's what I'm trying to get to. I don't know, we don't know today what will be the new set or the new scene in terms of -- whether Maersk and MSC will operate independently, whether there will be some reshuffling in the way the other shipping lines do interconnect. We don't know that.
What we know is that there is no reason for us not to consider working with any of them or with some others. By the way, it could also be very possible. So we will see. What we think is that we are a very important player again in terms of the market share that we comment, especially on the Asia U.S. East Coast trade lanes.
We have a very efficient fleet with the 15,000 TEU ships that we are currently scaling up in this trade. So we are a very interesting partner to partner with, and there's no reason for us to think that the future when it comes to cooperation is not going to offer opportunities for them and for our potential future partners.
The next question is coming from Alexia Dogani.
It's Alexia Dogani from Barclays. Just curious as well, please. Firstly, on the outlook for 2023. Given Eli's comments around profitability improving in the second half, are we basically expecting EBIT losses in the first half? And subsequent to that, obviously, you've talked about, Xavier, your expectation of spot rates improving from here. How much improvement are you expecting to meet your guidance range? I mean, to the extent you're willing to share.
Secondly, on following up on Sam's questions on the vessels and the 58 vessels that are coming up for renewal over the next 2 years versus the 41 that you've already chartered. And the net of this should be kind of a double-digit decline in unit cost or less? And just on the comment of handing it back, would you be willing to reduce your fleet size from 138 containerships at the moment, down by 58 and under which scenario would you do that?
And then finally, in terms of CapEx, can you remind us cash CapEx expectations for '23 and '24 and lease CapEx as well?
Sure. Thank you, Alexia. First, on your question with regard to the outlook for 2023. Yes, we -- as we said, we expect the second half to be an improvement compared to the first. We do not, as you know, provide a calendar view when it comes to the guidance.
You were asking whether that meant that we were expecting EBIT losses in the early part of 2023. Not necessarily, that we didn't say that. In terms of improvement also for us when it comes to the question on freight rates, what do we expect to see. As far as we are concerned, the -- it will be also a function of where we end up in our contract discussions with our customers on the transpacific trade lane.
If we are saying that 50% of our volume is meant to be contracted and then 50% will be on the spot, it's going to be a different effect if we end up otherwise. But providing that we end up where we, I think we will from a contract rate perspective, this provides us the comfort that we think that the second half in 2023 will be better market conditions overall for ZIM.
With respect to your second question, 58 vessels that potentially come up for renewal against the 41 that we will take delivery from over the next 2-year period, so all the way to the end of 2024. As to whether we will let go all of those 58 vessels, we will see it's not a one for one. I think this is what we need also to bear in mind.
Very likely that the smaller capacity vessel, the feeder size type of ships that currently we employ or we deploy mainly on the Intra-Asia business as a [feedering] line, but also Intra-Asia services. Those vessels are needed by the company to maintain service and servicing those areas where we think there is, by the way, quite significant opportunity for growth.
So what will happen is there will be a cascading effect. We will take on larger capacity vessels. Those will come and replace ships that will be redeployed elsewhere. So we start with the 15,000 TEU ship that will come and replace the 10,000 TEU that we currently employ on the Asia-U.S. East coasts. Those will go and upsize those (inaudible) and so on and so forth. And then at the end of the day, we will let go some vessels that will be in the Panamax size type of segment mainly. So the big ships will keep on the big East-West trade. The smaller feeder sides vessels will be very much needed also in the regional trades where we operate.
And in terms of addressing your last question on CapEx, we have the commitment to pay down at delivery of each of the LNG vessels that we've ordered a down payment. As you know, $13 million per ship for the 15,000 TEU vessels and $20 million per ship for the 7,000 TEU vessel. So that adds up to roughly $140 million in 2023 and another $350 million in 2024 according to the current delivery schedule.
On top of that, we will have the renewal of equipment, which will be limited because we have already secured and purchased a lot of equipment back in 2021. With the congestion being less of a problem this year, the rotation of the equipment is being facilitated. So we need less equipment in order to carry the same cargo. But still, we will continue to replace all the boxes with newer ones. And we will continue to, as we'll invest in developing our digital solutions, which is very important to us. We've been at the forefront of the digital transformation of the industry, and we intend to continue to keep this technological edge.
And if can I just ask a clarification on the first answer. I mean, historically, contract rates are struck at the discount to spot for obvious reasons because shippers get kind of a discount for the volumes that commit a year forward. Based on the comments you made kind of makes me think that you share the opposite view. If that's the case, why should the contract rates, let's say, distract spot or at the premium spot conceptually?
Yes. I mean I think today's market environment is a little bit unique in a way. We just concluded that 2 years of extraordinary situation. We are today at, from a pendulum effect, if I may use this analogy, the market has gone very strongly in the opposite direction. I think both shippers and liners, I know that there is a middle range that is the natural equilibrium that we showed all the tender lean towards. Otherwise, the disruptions might affect the shippers as well.
If we don't get the risk that we believe makes sense for us to continue sailing, we will stop sailing. And then if we stop sailing, then it may have a more drastic effect on the ability of our customer to secure their supply chain. So I think it's not that simple in terms of where the market dynamics are leading us today. There are still quite a few weeks ahead of us before we finalize the discussions on the contract cargo. Whether we will end above, below or close to spot remains to be seen.
For us, like I said, we have our objective, and our objective are customer by customers. We don't treat all customers the same way. We have a one-to-one relationship and we know exactly where we can go and where we want to go.
This concludes our Q&A session, and I hand back to Eli Glickman, President and CEO, for closing comments.
Thank you. Despite challenging market conditions towards the end of the year, we continue to execute our global [MIX] strategy and deliver outstanding execution and profitable growth in 2022. Full year EBITDA and EBIT results were all-time records.
As a result of our outstanding cash generation and strong balance sheet, we declared a Q4 dividend of approximately $769 million or $6.4 per share. While the near-term liner industry outlook may be uncertain with increased supply and weaker demand trends, as Xavier discussed, we believe there are reasons for optimism as we look ahead.
We took deliberate steps over the past 2 years to both diversify our commercial presence and improve our cost structure, enabling the company to continue to strive in more normalized environment like the one we are experiencing today. We remain highly confident that we have the right strategy in place with our competitive, efficient and cost-effective newbuild capacity on the way. And our investment in digital innovation and disruptive technologies continue to position ZIM to best serve customers and shareholders over the long term. Thank you all.
Ladies and gentlemen, the conference has now concluded, and you may disconnect your telephone. Thank you for joining, and have a pleasant day. Goodbye.