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Intra-Asia operator TS Lines’ profits soar on rising rates and falling costs

Strong intra-Asia volume growth has seen Taiwanese vessel operator TS Lines’ net profits for the first half of 2020 skyrocket totalling TW$1.5 billion (US$55.88 million), up 50% from H1 2019.

Earnings in the second quarter reached TW$850 million (US$28.83 million), due to strong cargo volumes. TS Lines chairman Chen Te-sheng said that the company is targeting full-year net profit to reach TW$3 billion (US$103.4 million), nearly doubling from 2019.

Chen said that first half year revenues were up 2% year-on-year, to TW$13 billion (US$440.98 million).

TS Lines’ good performance had encouraged the company to order newbuildings at CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding recently.

Although the volume of cargoes from India and the Philippines fell in the second quarter, as the Covid-19 pandemic spread, TS Lines increased its capacity to carry more cargoes from markets in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Significant reductions in bunker prices resulted in better profits.

Chen stated that TS Lines’ strategy resulted in overall Q2 cargo volumes being 20% higher than in Q1 2020.

He added that while the third quarter is usually quiet for intra-Asia shipping, ongoing demand for pandemic prevention items, such as surgical masks and anti-bacterial wipes is keeping carriers busy.

Cargo volumes in Q3 are likely to be 10% higher than in the previous quarter, but the recovery in bunker prices and growing competition would affect profit margins, said Chen.

While the soaring Transpacific rates and blanked sailings have caused a shortage of 40ft containers and therefore higher leases, Chen stressed that there are sufficient containers for intra-Asia shippers.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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