Operating revenue fell 0.01 per cent to $5.15 billion. Revenue in the fourth quarter was $801 million, down 28 per cent from $1.12 billion year on year.
CSAV said the considerable loss in 2011 was due to "strong competition which forced tariffs down; then slack demand, particularly in the second half of 2011, and finally the high fuel price where oil, the principal component of shipowners' expenses, increased by more than 35 per cent in 2011.
"This all caused freight tariffs, excluding the cost of fuel, to reach their lowest level in the history of the industry," said a company statement.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, the company lost $380 million, a significant 51-fold increase from a loss of $7.2 million in the last quarter of 2010.
Operating loss in the last three months of 2011 was $144 million, seeing an improvement from the second and third quarter when the company lost more than $300 million in each period.
The carrier is restructuring, in which it will spin off its SAAM terminal and tug boat business to shareholders in order to raise $1.2 billion in capital, reported American Shipper.
Its SAAM terminal had earnings of $64 million in 2011, up 15 per cent year on year. Sales also increased 18 per cent to $426 million.
CSAV said it is "breaking the trend in the global shipping industry, in an environment where market conditions are more serious than at the beginning of 2011 and where the competition has started to show increasing losses."
The carrier said its restructuring "contemplates a reduction in containership capacity of about 50 per cent with respect to that operated during the first months of 2011 (33 per cent already reflected at the end of 2011)."
Instead, the carrier has partnered with other shipping lines to increase its joint operations from about 30 per cent in early 2011 to about 90 per cent at present.
It is also increasing its own fleet, which will exceed 30 per cent in the second half of 2012 from nine per cent at the outset of 2011.