Optimistic – despite rough seas: Looking ahead
PSA International, a Singaporean port operator, has presented its results for 2015. It managed to keep its losses low, despite an unusually volatile global economic and political environment.
In financial 2015 PSA International handled a grand total of 64.1 million teu, which represents a 2% decrease from the previous year’s figure. Singapore Terminals, the corporation’s flagship facility, contributed no less than 30.62 million teu thereof, a 8.7% decrease year-on-year. PSA terminals outside Singapore delivered a total throughput of 33.48 million teu, an increase of 5% over 2014. Group revenues were 6.7% lower, coming in at approximately SGD 3.6 billion (EUR 2.4 billion). The corporation’s net profits slipped by 9.5% to SGD 1.3 billion (EUR 0.85 billion).
Fock Siew Wah, PSA International’s group chairman, told the assembled reporters that «the unusual volatility in global markets in 2015 caused a general loss of confidence on all fronts, bewildering governments, policy-makers, bankers, business leaders and investors. It culminated in sluggish or low growth for most economies – including China, which was one of the world’s key growth engines for the last decade.» He added that «the container shipping industry was not spared. It grappled with softening trade and demand, excess tonnage capacity and depressed freight rates.»
PSA International’s group CEO Tan Chong Meng pointed out that «PSA was also adversely affected by this troubling economic landscape, despite anticipating and preparing for the storm.» He underlined his corporation’s commitment to upgrading services, facilities and productivity. This, he closed, will «enable PSA to take the tough business conditions in our stride. With the right fundamentals in place to pursue long-term goals we can ride out the choppy waves to calmer seas.»
Cosco and PSA building new berths
A clear signal was sent out recently in this context by Cosco and PSA. The joint venture Cosco-PSA Terminal (CPT) is investing funds in three modern container berths in Singapore, which will be capable of serving the next generation of mega-container vessels. A corresponding agreement was signed in the presence of high-ranking government and corporate representatives in Singapore on 28 March. CPT said that the berths will be ready to welcome the maritime behemoths in 2017. They will raise port productivity and enhance Singapore’s position as an international maritime centre with a well-connected transhipment hub.