Neptune Orient Lines, parent of liner company APL, lost $146 million in the second quarter ending June 30, most of it on steep declines in volume and pricing that left container shipping revenue down 39 percent compared to the same period last year, the company announced.
Container volume fell 19 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period a year ago, including declines of 25 percent in trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe trade and 26 percent on trans-Atlantic business. Falling prices left yield on container business down 24 percent from last year’s second quarter, pushing container shipping revenue down from $1.92 billion last year to less than $1.2 billion in this year’s second quarter.
Singapore-based NOL says it has made efficiencies in utilization and has seen the volume declines stabilize, but it repeated its projection for a “significant loss” this year.
The company, which lost $391 million in the first half of 2009, saw improvements in some business from the first quarter to the second including greater demand in some key markets and operating profits in its logistics and terminals business units.
The volume of 489,000 40-foot equivalents in the second quarter was slightly better than the 481,000 FEUs in the first quarter, when volume was down 24 percent from last year.
“While negative market conditions continued to depress container shipping earnings, we saw positive improvement in APL container volumes and utilisations through the latter part of the second quarter,” said APL President Eng Aik Meng.
But the tough market for ocean rates sent overall revenue still down 38 percent in the second quarter, to $1.39 billion, and that was down 15.5 percent from the first quarter.
The yield decline in the second quarter was the steepest out of Europe, where average revenue per FEU plunged 38 percnet from last year. Asia and Middle East yield fell 28 percent in the quarte, but it actually grew slightly from the first quarter to the second.
Yield on traffic connected to the Americas fell 6.5 percent on a quarter-to-quarter basis.