"K" Line Losses Nearly Double.
Japanese ocean carrier ?K? Line said its net losses in the last three months of 2009 nearly doubled to $203.3 million from $115.2 million a year earlier as weak volume and rates caused revenue to plunge to $2.3 billion from $3.5 billion. ?K? Line said, however, that it sees indications that U.S. and European economies have bottomed out. The company projects a $760 million net loss for its current fiscal year, which ends March 31, but forecasts an $87 million profit for its April-to-March fiscal year.
The company, Japan"s third-largest ocean carrier, said its losses through the first nine months of its current fiscal year totaled $673 million, compared with a $40.6 million net profit a year earlier.
?K? Line said its container volume from Asia to North America during the last three months of 2009 decreased 1 percent while backhaul shipments, which generally command lower rates, jumped 57 percent for an overall increase of 16 percent. Volume to Europe fell 23 percent while shipments from Europe rose 22 percent from a lower base, for an overall volume drop of 9 percent.
The carrier said, though, that container rates began to rebound during the quarter, ?particularly on European service routes and north-south service routes, except for North American service routes, which are waiting for revision of yearly freight agreements this spring.? Like most other container carriers, ?K? Line has cut costs by reducing sailings.
?K? Line said rates for its dry-bulk ships bottomed out at the end of September and have risen with increased demand for iron ore to China and shipments of bulk grain. The company said its car carriers suffered a 30 percent drop in volume as automakers" sales and production remained weak.