The majority of ocean container carriers will lose money in the second quarter following their failure to fully implement rate hikes in May and June, Alphaliner says.
However, operating margins are expected to improve significantly in the period as average rates and capacity utilization have risen, while fuel costs have declined 5 percent, the container market analyst said.
Carriers’ average operating margins shrank in the first three months of the year compared to the final quarter of 2011 despite higher rates on the key trade routes since January.
Alphaliner’s survey of 18 container shipping lines that have reported first quarter results show the average margin fell to minus-12 percent from minus-10 percent in the final three months of 2011.
The figures were the worst for the industry since 2009, the analyst said.
China’s SITC was the only carrier that posted positive first quarter results as a strong performance by its land-based logistics unit outweighed declining ocean shipping margins.
The average would have been worse if the results of Malaysia’s MISC Berhad had been included. The carrier, which is quitting liner shipping this month, posted a negative operating margin of minus-153 percent in the first quarter.
The operating margins of the other carriers ranged from minus-2 percent to minus-25 percent in the first three months of the year.
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