APM Terminals, the terminal operating unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk, posted 2012 operating profit of $723 million, up almost 12 percent over a year earlier.
It attributed the improvement to one-off gains from the disposal of assets, and said its container traffic increased faster than its rivals.
Revenue edged up 2 percent to $4.8 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose 1.6 percent to $1.1 billion.
Container volume grew 6 percent, outpacing market growth of 4 percent, to 35.4 million 20-foot equivalent units, driven mainly by acquisitions.
APM expects to outgrow the market again in 2013 supported by increased volumes from new terminals and improved productivity at existing facilities. The crane lift per hour improved by 8 percent across the global network of 62 terminals in 2012, and the company expects to boost productivity 15 percent over the next five years.
The global economic slowdown reduced volumes in the second half, particularly on the Asia-Europe trades, but this was largely offset by increased traffic in Africa and Latin America.
Volumes from third-party customers, excluding sister company Maersk Line, reached 48 percent in 2012 compared to 46 percent in the previous year.
APM said its increased presence in high-growth areas presents an opportunity to grow its business but also increases its geopolitical exposure. Operations in some terminals in North Africa and the Middle East were affected by political unrest or labour issues the first half of the year but the impact was not “huge”.
The $900 million acquisition of a 37.5 percent co-controlling stake in Russia’s Global Ports in September will start impacting results in 2013, said A.P. Moller-Maersk CEO Nils Andersen said.
The key priorities in 2013 will be opening a 50 percent owned terminal in Santos, Brazil, in the first half of the year and preparing to bring on stream the 2.7 million-TEU Maasvlakte 11 facility in Rotterdam in 2014.