Hutchison Ports Holding (HPH) Trust’s operating profit dipped in 2018 as the terminal operator warned of uncertainty brought on by the slowing Chinese economy and the trade war.
According to its financial results, HPH Trust’s operating profit fell by 1.4% year-on-year (YoY) from US$3.6 billion to $3.5 billion.
Throughput in its global portfolio of ports fell by 1%, despite US outbound cargo growing by 5% in the full year 2018 and 10% in the fourth quarter.
However, HPH Trust said this is most probably due to the frontloading of cargoes in anticipation of the latest 25% tariffs set on Chinese goods by the US.
In a statement accompanying its financial statement, HPH Trust said:
“Fiscal 2019 has commenced with forecasts of slower international trade and further structural changes to container shipping lines.
Port of Hong Kong
“These developments make forecasting cargo volumes challenging and consequently the Trustee-Manager will continue to focus on cost discipline and efficiency improvements to better serve its customers and protect the business from any downturn in cargoes handled
“Further structural changes to container shipping lines are anticipated. While the creation of further cost sharing alliances is not expected, further deployment of mega vessels will continue necessitating investment in port equipment and processes by deepwater port operators handling these vessels.”
In January 2019, HPH announced the creation of the Hong Kong Seaport Alliance (HKSA) in order to enable better vessel berth planning and deploying. It will also look to improve the standing of the port of Hong Kong.
PTI spoke exclusively to the HKSA on what the alliance means for Hong Kong and the rest of the Asian maritime industry.