Alphaliner: some relief for carriers
According to an analysis provided by Alphaliner, container carriers’ average operating margins improved to 3.3% in Q3/2014. This result is based on the published quarterly results of 15 main shipping lines.
The improved performance was mainly due to robust peak season demand on the key east-west and intra-Asia trades, which kept vessel utilisation levels high. This helped the shipping lines to retain at least part of the freight rate increases that they had proposed during Q3.
The carriers’ operating margins were also boosted by a notable decrease in fuel prices, with average bunker costs in the period under review falling by some 6% year-on-year. The cost containment efforts of various carriers have also borne fruit, as several shipping lines cited improved network and vessel efficiencies that have helped to lower their respective unit operating costs.
Despite these positive trends, three out of the 15 carriers surveyed posted negative Q3/2014 operating results.