Monday, September 5, 2011

Carriers in financial trouble

When the global recession hit a couple of years ago I predicted a lot
of carriers would go out of business.

I was wrong. Some of them were saved by government intervention,
as was Hapag-Lloyd by the German government. Others were saved
by banks or various investors.

Once again shipping companies are in trouble. I hesitate to make
predictions this time around, but here is a little bit of
what is going on.

From Lloyd's List

CSAV seeks partner as losses soar

Monday 05 September 2011, 13:36

STRUGGLING Chilean container line CSAV is actively looking for a strategic partner and has already held talks with other leading carriers as it takes action to stem mounting losses.

The rest is available to paid subscribers.

As for Hapag-Lloyd, this was published in the Journal of Commerce on Aug. 11

Weak rates, fuel costs hit German carrier's second quarter results

Hapag-Lloyd’s second quarter profit tumbled to 26 million euros ($37 million) from $294 million in the second quarter of 2010 as declining rates and higher fuel costs offset a 3.3 percent increase in container volume.

The German container line said its results also were affected by soft demand for transport services in Japan following the March earthquake and tsunami, and the dollar’s weakness against the euro. Revenue for the quarter totaled $2.1 billion, down 9 percent after conversion into euros.

Hapag-Lloyd said it expects continued growth for container shipping in the medium to long term but “short-term results will be influenced by high crude oil prices and pressure on freight rates as a result of tougher competition, particularly in the Asia-related trades.”

Hapag-Lloyd’s average freight rate fell to $1,531 per 20-foot-equivalent unit from $1,563 in the first quarter. For the year’s first half, a 4.4 percent increase in average rates to $1,546 was offset by bunker costs that surged from $480 per metric ton in January to more than $630 in June.

Container volume rose 3.3 percent to 2.5 million TEUs. Regional totals included the North Atlantic, 582,000 TEUs, up 1.5 percent; Latin America, 559,000 TEUs, up 7 percent; the Far East, 549,000 TEUs, down 2.6 percent; the trans-Pacific, 560,000 TEUs, up 8.3 percent; and Australasia, 284,000 TEUs, up 2.9 percent.

For the first half of the year, earnings before interest and tax totaled $60 million, down 80 percent from $310 million in the first half of 2010.

TUI, the German tourism group that is Hapag-Lloyd’s largest shareholder, said its quarterly loss widened to $56.4 million from a loss from $17 million a year earlier because of unrest in North Africa, foreign exchange effects and high fuel prices.

TUI has been trying to sell its stake in Hapag-Loyd. A plan for a public listing of the container line was postponed earlier this year.

There are mixed reports as to the strength of international container transport.

The next 6 months will be very crucial for many companies in this business.

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