COSCO Shipping Holdings said on 30 March 2020 that net profit for 2019 rocketed nearly 450% from 2018, with earnings of CNY6.8 billion (US$ 958.38 million).
The Chinese state-owned COSCO group’s container shipping and ports arm said that cargo volumes, both in terms of transported containers and port throughput, were all up year-on-year. These included containers shipped by the Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Lines (OOCL), whose parent, Orient Overseas International Limited, was acquired by COSCO in 2017.
Overall, containers transported by the group’s liner operating units, COSCO Shipping Lines, OOCL and Shanghai PanAsia Shipping, totalled nearly 25.74million TEU, up 18% from the 21.79million TEU shipped in 2018.
COSCO Shipping Lines and Shanghai PanAsia, its intra-Asia unit, transported a total of nearly 18.79million TEU, up 2% from 2018.
Container throughput at COSCO Shipping Ports was 123.78million TEU, up nearly 6% from 2018. There was also a one-off gain from selling OOIL’s terminal in Long Beach, US, a condition requested by US regulators for approving COSCO’s OOIL acquisition.
During 2019, COSCO Shipping Holdings took delivery of 10 mega container ships, with an aggregate carrying capacity 179,000TEU. The vessels were deployed on the Asia-Europe, transpacific and Asia-Middle East routes. As at 31 December 2019, COSCO Shipping Holdings controlled 507 container ships and approximately 3million TEU of containers. Currently, the group is the world’s third largest liner operator after Maersk Line and MSC.
Addressing market uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, COSCO Shipping Holdings management said, “While the infection rate in China is now under control, Covid-19 is spreading rapidly around the world and this may impact on global supply chains and trade. The International Monetary Fund’s earlier forecasts of global growth of 3.3% in 2020 may have to be downgraded.”
Alphaliner, the French container shipping consultancy estimates that in 2020, global container shipping capacity will grow by 3.1%, down from 4% in 2019, due to the slowdown of vessel deliveries.