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Cautious optimism from OOCL

HONG KONG: Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) has reported Q2 revenue of US$1.50 billion – up 5.6 percent compared to the same period last year.

Volumes rose 11.2 percent while average revenue per TEU fell 4.0 percent compared to the same period last year.

Revenue for the first six months of 2014 totalled US$2.77 billion. Volumes rose 10.1 percent while average revenue per TEU fell 5.3 percent year-on-year.

Orient Overseas (International) Limited chairman C.C. Tung commented: “The global economic environment seems to be positioning for a shift in the right direction despite the disappointing headline figures recorded in the first half of 2014.”

OOCL reeferTung expressed a “degree of cautious optimism” for the rest of the year citing a rise in U.S. consumer spending; more confidence by the U.S. Federal Reserve in a sustained recovery; and the lowest level of unemployment since 2008.

“The industry saw a disappointing first half and a more encouraging second half in 2013. Moving into 2014, there has been cargo volume increase and a generally more positive sentiment than last year. In total, it is expected that the container transportation industry posted improved results for the first half of 2014. Such improvement, however, is likely to be capped given the large newbuilding order book and the anticipated next round of newbuildings that will likely materialise over the next twelve months”, he added.

During the first six months of 2014 OOCL took delivery of two 13,208 TEU ships and expects to take delivery of four 8,888 TEU vessels in 2015.

The OOCL chairman said the company would continue to grow its logistics business and leverage its experience in China to provide customers with domestic services.

Notwithstanding OOCL’s own new deliveries, Tung said “the industry will continue to face overcapacity in the coming years. Despite the gradual recoveries of the developed economies, demand growth is not expected to return to the pre-‘Global Financial Crisis’ level over the short to medium term”. He suggested that unless bunker prices drop, the drive for scale and fuel efficiency will mean more new ships: “As a result, the challenge of overcapacity will likely persist over the short to medium term.”

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