Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) has said it remains confident in its long term future and has no plans to scale back mega-ship fleet expansion as its revenue increased by 3.2% in the first half of 2020 despite COVID-19.
In a statement accompanying its results, the carrier said it will continue to play “a leading role in the digitalisation” of the industry, and that its optimism was evident in its order of 23,000 TEU vessels in March 2020.
The increase in overall revenue was combined with an increase in revenue per TEU, which rose by 6%. Trade growth was driven by high freight rates caused by blank sailings and low fuel costs.
This market situation has allowed other major carriers to benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic, and US-China trade fell at the end of 2019, the resumption of operations has seen traffic increase.
However, it is still unclear as to how long the boom in carrier revenues will last, or if trade between the US and China will continue to grow in the second half of 2020.
The carrier said it had used its experience from recent financial crises in the industry to help it grow throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Looking forward,” OOCL said, “the pandemic will have long-lasting effects, and the epidemic prevention and control measures adopted in many countries have become part of daily life.
“The container shipping sector has recent experience of significant falls in demand that hurt the industry badly, both in 2009 and 2016, and so OOCL has prioritised cost management during the anticipated tough conditions of 2020.
“This adaptability is one of the factors that has allowed OOCL to resist the headwinds of the pandemic, and to produce these solid results.
“Since May, demand on some trade appears to have improved somewhat, with OOCL providing additional capacity to support our customers’ requirements.
“However, this tentative demand recovery is far from secure, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”