Sunday, August 12, 2012

Container Shipping and Bulk Freight Carrier Praised Again

MOL First Quarter Figures are However as Expected
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN - Following our story last December telling of the excellent assistance freely donated by container carrier and ocean bulk freight provider Mitsui O.S.K Lines (MOL) Ltd after the nightmare which was the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in April last year, when the shipping company received an award for the sterling work by the officers and crew of the cruise ship Fuji Maru which delivered aid and support to areas stricken by the disaster, comes news of a further honour for the group. The company was directly affected when one of their ships was irradiated by the meltdown of the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant in the wake of the event.

Along with other logistics groups MOL has also continued to provide various transport services and other support activities such as supplying 66 boxes and reefer containers to deliver relief aid and,nearly a year and half after the disaster, continues to draw on its group-wide network to promote reconstruction of the stricken areas. Now the company’s physical efforts, plus contributions totalling ¥113 million to the Japanese Red Cross and Central Community Chest of Japan, have been recognise with a certificate of appreciation from Yuichiro Hata, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

The company has also released first quarter figures this week (running from 1st April to 30th June 2012) which show revenue up 8.5% to ¥378.8 billion ($4.84 billion) with a fall in net loss to ¥5 billion ($120 million)from ¥8 billion a year ago. The company blamed the continuing financial woes in Europe and the rest of the world whilst pointing to the success of the Japanese automotive trade as the demand for sophisticated electric vehicles worldwide grew substantially.

As with other ocean shipping groups the bulk sector has seen a scarcity of profitable contracts whilst, for the fleet as a whole, bunker fuel prices have soared by over 11% ($70 per metric tonne) mitigated in part by slow steaming practices. To précis the situation MOL have a broad pan of vessel types and whilst bulk and container transport has some way to go the support offered by the LNG and car ferry businesses make for healthier figures.

The new build tonnage which has come on stream added to the group’s asset value whilst the cost of financing the latest vessel acquisitions meant an $850 million jump in liabilities to June 2012. The company says it expects better container revenues and better than previously forecast bunker prices but admits the dry bulker and tanker rates, coupled with a strong yen and the European financial situation will restrict growth.

Photo: ‘Lest we forget’ the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster in March 2011 following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami has caused numerous premature deaths, with more expected in coming years and led to crops being rendered inedible and will take decades to eliminate the local contamination.