CMPort suffers first quarter crash as COVID-19 and tariffs take toll

Shanghai Yangshan deepwater port is a deep water port for container ships in Hangzhou Bay south of Shanghai, China.

China Merchants Ports (CMPort) saw its TEU traffic fall by 5.6% year-on-year (YoY) in the first quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the trade war between China and the US.

Its volume on mainland China also fell by 5.6% and on its overseas operations in Hong Kong and Taiwan, TEU fell by 2.8% and 6.4% respectively.

The drop was attributed to the pandemic and trade war between China and the US, but the company claimed it had still outperformed its competitors.

Dr. Bai Jingtao, General Manager of Finance, CMPorts, said the company had faced “container congestion” in February and March but that it had overcome the worst by April.

“In order to improve our handling ability,” Jingtao said, “we have taken measures in three ways.

“1) actively coordinated with the government and customs, push forward work resumption and ensure the cargo movement in ports.

“2) take advantages of the Company’s global ports network and cooperation to improve quality and efficiency and 3) make use of CM ePort platform to greatly improve the efficiency of the logistics system and reduce customer costs, achieving a win-win situation.”

Deng Renjie, Managing Director, CMPorts, said the company was in a good position and its priority would be to “promote synergy” among its ports. In particular, he pointed to the purchase of eight terminals from CMA CGM, in a statement released in April.

“CMPort has completed the acquisition of 8 high-quality terminals of CMA CGM by the end of March 2020, and the other two will be completed within the second quarter of this year,” Renjie said.

“The acquisition of ports in emerging and developed markets will help provide new impetus for the Company’s future business growth and financial returns.

“CMPort will continue to focus on the overseas layout of the “East-West routes, South-North routes, and the Belt and Road”, especially to grasp the trend of global industrial transfer and changes in trade flow, and make a good overall development plan for overseas projects.”

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