South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine said higher fuel costs and lower container volumes widened its first quarter operating loss to 201 billion won ($177 million) from $24 million a year earlier.
The diversified carrier’s tanker division narrowed its operating loss to $6.2 million from $32 million in the first quarter of 2011. Bulk shipping losses rose to $19 million from $16 million.
Hyundai’s container volume slipped 0.8 percent to 708,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units in the first quarter. Intra-Asia and Asia-Europe volumes rose slightly but trans-Pacific volume fell 3.3 percent to 295,000 TEUs.
The company said rates rose in the first quarter but were offset by fuel costs. Hyundai said it expects per-unit fuel costs to decline following delivery by mid-year of five 13,000-TEU ships that will be more fuel-efficient than existing vessels.