Alphaliner: Carriers in Operating Losses for 5th Successive Quarter

The main container carriers’ average operating margins remained in negative territory with minus 7.8% in the third quarter of 2016, marking the fifth successive quarter of operating losses, according to Alphaliner.

Out of the 12 main carriers surveyed by Alphaliner, only the German carrier Hapag-Lloyd and Taiwan’s shipping company Wan Hai posted positive margins, while the ten remaining carriers all reported negative operating results.

The two beleaguered Korean carriers Hanjin Shipping and Hyundai Merchant Marine posted “the worst operating margins of the carriers surveyed,” at -30% and -22%, respectively.

Hanjin Shipping ceased taking new bookings after it filed for receivership on 31 August, resulting in a 25% plunge in total liftings in the third quarter to 884,100 TEU, compared to 1.18 million TEU in the same quarter last year and 1.17 million TEU in the second quarter. Total revenue for Hanjin’s container shipping business fell by 42% year-on-year to USD 874 million, while operating losses reached USD 258 million.

Following Hanjin’s exit, spot freight rates surged by 33% in September, Alphaliner cited the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI), however, the rate increase “came too late to salvage the other carriers’ dismal third quarter results.”

Furthermore, some shipping lines were negatively affected by Hanjin’s sudden departure, especially CKYHE members, which had to incur additional costs to recover and deliver cargo stranded on Hanjin vessels.

None of the main carriers surveyed provided any breakdown of their financial exposure to the Hanjin bankruptcy, Alphaliner informed.

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