"K" Line Posts Loss, Forecasts Profit

"K" Line Posts Loss, Forecasts Profit

Japanese ocean carrier “K” Line reported a $738.6 million loss in its fiscal year ended March 31 but said it expects to return to profitability this year with a forecast 13 percent growth in revenue.

“K” Line’s revenue for its last fiscal year plunged 33 percent to $9 billion as the carrier’s container, car-carrier and LNG and tanker units posted losses and the company’s dry-bulk division finished with weaker profit after a strong start.

The company said it expects $190 million in net income, with cargo volume “expected to recover slowly along with the improvement of the world economy.”

The shipping environment has been “harsh, affected by the sluggish world economy, the stronger yen and highly fluctuating fuel oil prices,” the company said.

“K” Line said growth in exports from Europe and North America reduced the impact of sharp drops in imports to those continents from Asia. Overall volume in loaded containers showed a year-to-year decline of only 1 percent.

The carrier’s imports to North America from Asia decreased 4 percent but a 29 percent increase in loaded westbound containers to Asia produced an overall 6 percent year-to-year increase in the company’s North American volume.

Shipments of loaded containers from Asia fell 18 percent to Northern Europe and 27 percent to the Mediterranean, but a 25 percent jump in traffic from those regions to Asia reduced the net decline in “K” Line’s European services to 7 percent.

Rates remained below the previous year’s levels but “began to finally show some progress towards normalization” last summer, primarily on European and north-south routes, the company said.

Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com.