Monday, February 21, 2011

Container Shipping Lines See Profits Rise As Freight Revenues Recover

NOL Witness $1.2 Billion Upswing and Maersk Invest in Newbuilds
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – As bankers hide behind their profit reports in the face of widespread criticism the container shipping industry seems to be breathing a subdued sigh of relief as profit figures for box traffic in 2010 are reported.

Last week Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) reported a net profit of over $460 million after losses exceeding $740 million the previous year. Although this still leaves a deficit for the two year period the strong recovery saw a highest ever revenue for ocean freight and logistics activities at around $9.4 billion, up 45% on 2009.

All eyes this week will be on the biggest of the container carriers as A.P. Moller Maersk are due to report by webcast at 09:30 hours Central European Time on the 23rd February (Viewable HERE). All the signs are good for the Danish giant who upgraded profit forecasts for the year in both July and November as economies within the group, improved freight rates and slow steaming all contributed to Maersk Line’s optimism.

In a sign of their confidence in rising cargo levels Maersk have also officially announced today they have ordered ten of the world’s most efficient box carriers ever made. The newbuilds will be produced by South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) yards at a cost of $1.8 billion.The container vessels, each capable of carrying 18,000 TEU are scheduled for delivery between 2013 and 2015.

Christened the Triple E series, in honour of their environmental credentials the ships are 16% larger than the Emma Maersk which the owners consider the most efficient container vessel on the planet. Maersk have an option for twenty more of the same which would mean a contract eventually worth an astonishing $5.7 billion.

The new ships are a sign of Maersk’s confidence that they can dominate the Asian routes with vessels which consume half of the fuel an average container ship on the Asian trade uses at the moment and 35% less per container than the typical 13,100 TEU newbuilds on order by the company’s rivals.

For a full view of the Triple E project Maersk have launched a dedicated website HERE.