Monday, February 8, 2010

Container Shipping Boss To Speak At Conference After Record Company Loss

Hanjin Figures much as Expected but Some Good News
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH KOREA – Hanjin Shipping, ninth largest container shipping line in the world, have posted the disastrous figures that were anticipated last week. The company separated the shipping operation from other subsidiary businesses toward the end of last year and posted an overall loss for all operations on in excess of a billion dollars for2009. In December alone the company posted losses of $75 million for the shipping segment. The balance of group operations is now listed as Hanjin Shipping Holdings.

Mr Y M Kim, the President and CEO of Hanjin Shipping and new head of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA)organisation will speak at the tenth annual Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference in March and it is thought he will use the occasion to reiterate the company’s belief that the fourteen other container lines in the TPA should maintain pressure to stick together over the recent announcements designed to boost shipping company revenues after atrocious trading conditions for all of them last year. The conference is scheduled to coincide with several annual contract renegotiations and Hanjin, and doubtless the other major lines, are anxious that they are judged on service rather than descending into a price cutting war.

The TSA have been severely criticised of late by shipping groups who consider that the lines should renegotiate services in the light of reduced trade rather than try to maintain the same sailing schedules with extra costs going to importers and exporters. Mr Kim takes the helm of the TSA at probably the most difficult time for the group with his own company reporting sales down almost 35% from the previous year to a little over $5.5 billion.

In some good news for the group last week saw Hanjin Pacific, which manages the company’s port terminal business, take over running of two extra berths (76 & 77)in the Port of Kaohsiung adjacent to one they already control (78). This means Hanjin will be capable of handling vessels with in excess of 10,000 TEU’s and they hope to process up to one and a half million TEU’s annually through the new facility. Management of container freight through the berths was formerly the responsibility of APM Terminals, the handling arm of AP Moller Maersk. Financial details of the deal have been kept quiet but the two companies will work together until 1st May to maintain service levels at the port.

Photo: Container Terminal Kaohsiung