Taiwanese carriers Wan Hai Lines and Evergreen Marine Corporation had different results for the first quarter of 2020, which saw liner operators hit by falling volumes amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wan Hai, primarily an intra-Asia carrier, reported a pre-tax profit of TW$96.81 million (US$3.2 million), on revenue of TW$18 billion (US$595.28 million). Post-tax earnings were not disclosed, but the pre-tax profit was significantly lower than the TW$1.42 billion (US$45.94 million) in Q1 2019.
Evergreen incurred a TW$617.64 million (US$20.42 million) loss on revenue of TW$43.48 billion (US$1.44 billion), reversing a pre-tax profit of TW$708.53 million (US$22.97 million) in Q1 2019.
Volume figures were not disclosed by the carriers.
Despite headwinds caused by the pandemic, Wan Hai’s management remains optimistic about demand for intra-Asia shipments.
The company has launched a number of new services this year, such as a joint China-Southeast Asia service with Japanese carrier Interasia Lines. Both companies have also launched a China-Thailand-Vietnam service with Maersk Sealand.
In contrast, with Europe badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, mainline operators have slashed capacity in response to weakened demand. At the time of writing, the Ocean Alliance, which Evergreen is part of, has cancelled 28 sailings on Asia-North Europe comprising 437,031TEU, and 16 sailings on Asia-Med, withdrawing 152,460TEU.
Ship brokers Clarksons predicts that Covid-19 will see global container shipments drop 11% in 2020, surpassing the 9% decline during the 2009 global financial crisis.
Clarksons says demand will be seriously affected by lockdowns in Europe and the US, affecting Asia-Europe container shipments. However, the impact is expected to be less severe in Asia. As China resumed economic activity, exports recovered in April, and volumes on intra-Asian routes also recovered rapidly.