Sunday, October 31, 2010

Japanese Container Shipping Lines Set Sights Higher

Good Figures From MOL, KKK and NYK Boost Confidence
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – In the past week three major carriers, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (KKK) and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), between them responsible for a vast chunk of the country’s container and bulk freight shipping sector, have posted vastly improved figures for the year so far leading to higher than anticipated profit forecasts.

After a period of turmoil which saw losses for all the major carriers most analysts, even those in house, have been reluctant to forecast any rapid rise in profitability but good fiscal management with the lines acting rapidly to changing demand, particularly in container numbers have enthused market watchers.

Box numbers continue to fluctuate but the panic of 18 months ago has subsided as demand has climbed steadily, although many observers believe that the lines had become a little complacent at ever increasing cargo levels and the slump has provided a much overdue wake up call that the trade is actually constantly fluctuating due to seasonal variations and ever changing international financial conditions.

Between them the three lines posted half year income losses of almost 83 billion yen twelve months ago. This month those figures have turned into an income level of 119 billion yen for 2010, an astounding recovery by any standard. MOL expect to increase operating profits to 130 billion yen, up around 8% on their last forecast and KKK and NYK show similar confidence.

With cargo levels still steadily climbing and improved financial standards the sigh of relief across Asia is almost audible.