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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
30/07/18 10:54

The best and worst Italian freight forwarders handling containers

Based on an analyses on global carries developed by Centro Studi Fedespedi, Wan Hai, CMA CGM, Cosco and Evergreen's results were given green light, while Hyundai, MOL, Yang Ming and NYK's were rejected

According to Fedespedi (Freight Forwarders Association), the economic-financial performance synthetic index of the world top 14 shipping companies operating container transport, showed that Wan Hai, CMA CGM, Cosco and Evergreen, were the best operators, while Hyundai, MOL, Yang Ming and NYK achieved the worst results.

This index included various indicators (ROS, ROE, ROA, Quick Ratio, short term earnings/liabilities, Bank debts and others) resulting from financial results achieved by major global carriers in 2017.

Swiss operator MSC doesn't publish financial results, therefore this analyses could not analyse their performance.

At December 31st Maersk owned the largest fleet globally, encompassing 786 ships (+24.6% versus the year before) and reaching 4.12 million TEU capacity (+26.1%), while ships' average capacity recorded 5,252 TEU (+1.2%).

Confirming the ongoing ship gigantism, only three global carriers, namely Cosco (-2.6%), Hyundai (-11.3%) and Yang Ming (-2.3%), recorded a decreasing average capacity in their container-ships fleet.

German Hapag Lloyd showed the most remarkable growth (+26,2%), capacity soared to 1.57 million TEU (+66.2%) and ships average capacity is the highest recorded (7,177 TEU).

Maersk also shows the highest volume of containers shipped in 2017, reaching 21.4 million TEU  (+3% versus 2016), closely followed by Cosco with 20.9 million TEU (+23.7%) and by CMA CGM with 18.9 million TEU (+21.2%).

The analyses developed by Sergio Curi and Emilio Rincoroni on behalf of Centro Studi Fedespedi outlines how the existing consolidation process is going on. In fact, the three existing alliances currently control 80% market capacity and 50% ships, with 5,700 TEU/ship average capacity.

In late 2017, further 2.7 million TEU (ships) were under construction, 12% of the present one (21.9 million TEU), 59 of which exceeding 18,000 TEU and 76 ranging between 10,000 and 18,000.

Evaluating year 2017 economic-financial performance regarding the 14 leading shipping companies, turnover and EBIT are substantially soaring, not only due to last year's market trend (after a dreadful 2016), but also to profitable mergers and acquisitions negotiated in the last two years.

The highest consolidated turnover is obviously recorded by Maersk (30.9 billion dollars, + 13.5% versus 2016), followed by CMA CGM (21.1 billions) and NYK (19.5 billions).

CMA CGM shows excellent growth in turnover (+32.2%), Hapag Lloyd (+31.5%), Evergreen (+28.2%) and Cosco (+27.3%), while almost all global carriers achieved positive (2017) year-end figures, except for Hyundai, Maersk and MOL, with CMA CGM and Cosco leading this special ranking recording overall 700 million dollars profit each.

In 1Q 2018 the leading global carriers confirm former soaring trend ensued from the ongoing M&A  wave, while simultaneously also recording red figures (except for Cosco which still reached profit).

The analyses shows that ROS (return on sales) and ROA (return on assets) recorded better results versus 2016, except for MOL and Hyndai affected by negative figures.

“Bunker price increase, not adequately offset by freight rates increase, as well as a fluctuating demand, might bring about the traditional strain between price-revenue and price-cost ratio which often hurts this sector and all involved operators”, illustrates Fedespedi's analysts.

Still according to the analyses, the majority of evaluated companies holds conspicuous cash, higher than short-term bank debts, with a medium-high indebtedness ratio, especially medium-long term debts (being related to long-term investment), however operating revenues can't always refund loans.

In year 2017 containers traffic recorded 165 million TEU (+ 4.4% versus 2016).

CTS (Container Trade Statistics) database shows 4.2%, growth which confirms forecast.

Regarding January 2017 – April 2018 term, the report analysed freight rates along the China-Mediterranean/Northern Europe corridors, in between January and August 2017, which recorded a slight decrease, reached minimum value in May, to subsequently settle at  919 dollar/TEU (average freight rate on Northern Europe and Mediterranean routes), while in a second section the analyses evaluated September 2017 -  April 2018 term, which showed a drop in freight rates, down to 730 dollars/TEU average value, - 21% versus former period.

Freight rates from/to the Mediterranean appear drastically lower (686 dollar/TEU).

According to Fedespedi bunker price is one of the major element which might affect shipping companies' economic stability

“As from August 2017 – reports the analyses – bunker price recorded a continuous growth due to crude oil price increase which soared from 55 dollars/barrels in January 2017 to 77 in July 2018 (+36%), after having reached 70 dollars/barrels in late June”.

Nicola Capuzzo

TAG : Container