China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited (CMPort) has remained optimistic in its container outlook for the second half of the year in spite of regional COVID-19 lockdowns threatening disruption across the nation.
The major port operator moved 43.61 million TEU between January and April 2021, with highlights including Sri Lanka’s Colombo International Container Terminals Limited increasing its throughput by 8.7 per cent.
During a press conference on 2 July, Director Yim Kong said Mainland China’s business growth rate slowed down due to the lockdown of Shanghai and the strengthening of epidemic prevention measures across the country.
The container business of the West Shenzhen homebase port “returned to normal” in April, Kong said, and year-to-date throughput volumes from Shanghai International Port (Group) Co. is still increasing in spite of the lockdowns.
Yim Kong added: “As the pandemic eases, the pressure on the cost of epidemic prevention at the terminals will be reduced and the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta regions have resumed work and production.
“In addition, CMPort has adopted various refined management measures to manage cost. At the same time, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement came into effect at the beginning of the year and the traditional peak shipping season in the second half of the year is coming.
“All the above mentioned favorable factors will create favorable conditions for boosting the CMPort’s operating performance in the second half of the year. Therefore, we maintain our forecast of steady growth of annual operating results unchanged.”
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Carol Cheng, General Manager of Office of Board of Directors, added: “In terms of freight rates, shipping demand has increased significantly since the pandemic and freight rates have increased in multiples compared to before the pandemic. With the normalisation of the pandemic, we predict that the freight rates will remain high.”
Port tariffs are expected to increase on average by medium to high single digits, Cheng added.
“Combined with the overall market conditions and the controllable operating costs such as in epidemic prevention together will have a positive impact on the group’s operating performance,” she said.
CMPort posted a 170 per cent year-on-year (YoY) increase in profits in 1H 2021 due to greater container throughput across its business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.