Capacity and renewables drive record years in diverse sectors


Annual reports reveal rising revenues from port operators to data specialists, with strong energy transition and capacity investments.

Arcadis, Maersk’s APM Terminals, Iberdrola and Frugo maybe be very different companies, but they all reported record revenues in 2022 as the infrastructure sector withstood geopolitical challenges, recovered after the pandemic and continued investing in climate action and technology.

Ports: APM Terminals

Ports had a particularly difficult time during the pandemic, with operations affected globally, along with post-pandemic delays to supplies around the world.

2022 has seen some port companies put that behind them. APM Terminals has more than 50 major container ports in over 30 countries. It saw congestion challenges affect ports through most of 2022, although it noted that ports like Los Angeles, USA, had overcome the post-pandemic congestion by the end of the year.

This resulted in the company reporting a record $4.4bn of annual revenue, and a capital expenditure (not including acquisitions) of $500m. That investment in capital has been diverse. The company opened a new terminal in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in November 2022 with a capacity of 1.5m TEUs a year. Another new terminal is under development in Rijeka, Croatia, while the upgrade of their terminal in Onne, Nigeria is almost complete.

At the same time, new investments are targeting net zero by 2040. The company has installed a 1MW onsite solar plant at its terminal in Pipapav, India, while better rail connectivity saw container volume at Gothenburg grow by 13%.

Vincent Clerc, CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk, said: “In 2022, we accelerated our decarbonisation targets and made significant progress towards delivering on our ESG commitments. Fulfilling our ESG goals is extremely important to our customers, making our efforts a competitive differentiator and essential to our value proposition.”

Energy – Iberdrola

The energy industry has been split into two very different stories throughout 2022. The oil and gas industry largely benefited from spiking prices for their product as the war in Ukraine destabilised markets and saw Russia put under heavy sanctions. The electricity generating industry, however, faced the cost of those higher prices while under pressure from governments not to pass costs onto consumers or allow shortage of supply to cause power cuts.

The scale of the oil and gas price spikes can be seen in ExxonMobil’s annual figures. The world’s largest oil and gas company not owned by a nation state, saw revenues skyrocket from $286bn in 2021 to $414bn in 2022 and profits more than double from $23bn to almost $58bn.

At Iberdrola on the other hand, profits from energy generation and transmission grew at a much more modest rate of just under 12%, despite revenues rising almost 40% to €54bn. This reflected the relatively higher costs faced in producing energy as oil and gas prices rose.

With the oil and gas price spike and threat of energy shortages affecting some parts of the world, Iberdrola are investing heavily in alternatives to provide a more secure and reliable energy supply. The European energy giant invested €10.7bn in 2022 as it continues to progress the energy transition. Its new 2023-2025 strategic plan also commits €47bn over the next three years to the energy transition to deliver the networks and renewable plants needed for 52GW of renewable installed capacity by the end of the period, while increasing storage capacity to 102GWh.

Ignacio Galán, Iberdrola’s executive chairman, explains: “The record global investment plans we have set out will help us to bring more self-sufficiency and resilience against potential energy shocks in the countries where we operate, by reducing their dependency on oil and gas and by continuing their path to net zero”.

Engineering – Arcadis and Fugro 

The global focus on energy transition and decarbonisation has also helped to insulate specialist engineering firms from the geopolitical instability of the past year. 

Peter Oosterveer, CEO of international engineering firm Arcadis, explained: “The recent US Inflation Reduction Act, US and European CHIPS acts and the REPowerEU energy plan in Europe are examples of investment packages which provide plentiful opportunities for Arcadis to offer our expertise and create sustainable results for our clients and the communities in which we operate.”

This saw Arcadis report record revenues of €3bn thanks to a strong focus on sustainability from governments and clients. Arcadis is also working on a nationwide programme announced last year to create a high-pressure hydrogen network across the Netherlands. The intention is to replace natural gas with green hydrogen over time and the programme itself estimates that around 85% of the hydrogen network will consist of repurposed natural gas pipelines.

Specialist firms are also benefiting from the strong push for renewables. Geo-data specialists Fugro have announced gross earnings increased to €230m from €176m in 2021 as demand for its work in the wind, infrastructure and water sectors grew significantly.

The company is investing fast to meet rising demand and its capital investment last year was estimated to be around 100% of revenue, having acquired two new geotechnical vessels to support further offshore wind developments, as well as investing in its uncrewed vessel strategy and net zero roadmap.

Fugro CEO Mark Heine, said: “We experience particularly high demand for our offshore wind site characterisation solutions, of which the major geotechnical contract for Energinet’s North Sea I wind development is a prime example.”