Two of Asia"s biggest shipping lines this week announced major losses for the June-September quarter in a further sign of the unprecedented severity of the crisis battering the industry.
Two of Asia"s biggest shipping lines this week announced major losses for the June-September quarter in a further sign of the unprecedented severity of the crisis battering the industry. Singapore"s Neptune Orient Lines, which operates the world"s fifth-largest container ship fleet, said that it would lose money at least for the first half of 2010 as it announced $139m net losses for the three months to September 30.
Hong Kong-listed China Cosco, the world"s second-biggest dry bulk shipowner and number eight container line, announced third-quarter losses of Rmb691m ($101m) on revenues down 52.4 per cent on the same quarter last year to Rmb15.8bn.
Container shipping is by far the worst hit of any major shipping segment by the economic downturn, with volumes of the manufactured goods it ships slumping.
Rates per container shipped have plummeted as the sector"s huge excess supply of ships depresses prices.
Several lines ? including France"s CMA CGM, Germany"s Hapag-Lloyd, Israel"s Zim and Chile"s CSAV and CCNI ? are all either in the course of negotiating restructurings to avoid collapse or have already had bail-outs.
Companies that lease container ships to operators have suffered still more as shipping lines hand back large numbers of unneeded vessels.
At least one of the Hamburg-based companies that dominate the segment has sought help from Germany"s federal government.
The Asian companies" results came as Europe"s main trade body for container lines released figures showing continued weakness in volumes of containers shipped. In August, the European Liner Affairs Association said that imports into Europe from Asia were 11 per cent down on the year before.
Nol"s net losses compared with $35m profit for the same quarter of 2008, while revenue fell 34 per cent to $1.56bn.
It was the company"s fourth consecutive loss-making quarter.
Ron Widdows, Nol"s chief executive, said the quarter had seen the continuation of adverse business operating conditions.
?Despite some improvements in certain trades, container shipping freight rates remain at uneconomic levels,? he said.
Nol"s results are closely watched because it is the most open major container line about its performance and is regarded as one of the best-run operators. Its core container-shipping line ? APL ? saw container volumes for the quarter down 6 per cent on the year before and revenue per forty-foot-equivalent unit, a standard volume measure, down 29 per cent.
Core earnings before interest and tax in logistics were $17m, while terminals earned $8m by the same measure.
Cosco, which is controlled by the Chinese state, said volumes in its container shipping division had fallen 6.5 per cent year-on-year but revenue had tumbled 39.5 per cent to Rmb6.25bn. It did not split out how the different divisions contributed to the losses. But it did announce a Rmb620m profit for the year so far on freight derivatives that prevented the loss from being still larger.
Nol"s shares fell 1.2 per cent to S$1.62. Cosco"s figures were announced after the market closed.