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Westports predicts fall in TEU as COVID-19 bites

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Westports Holdings Berhad (Westports) has become the latest major maritime stakeholder to suffer as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as its revenue for the second quarter of 2020 declined by 11% year-on-year (YoY).

In its latest financial results, Wesports said its before tax profits for the second quarter also fell by 20%, which it attributed to a “decrease in operational revenues” brought on by the pandemic.

The company’s after tax profit also fell by 19% YoY for the same reason, however its losses for the first half of the year were not as big, with revenue falling by just 1% YoY.

Its profit before tax for the first half of the year fell by 7% and profit after tax by 6%. It credited the “modest” decline in the first half of the year to growth momentum it had built up in the first quarter.

The terminal operator said it expects TEU throughput to decline for the rest of 2020 as the global economy continues to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it also claimed the global lockdown had given it the opportunity to examine some of its major infrastructure projects.

Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam, Group Managing Director of Westports, said: “As we enter the 3rd Quarter of the year, economic activities in many parts of the world, including Malaysia, have broadly resumed even though activities involving mass gathering and air travel are still curtailed or discouraged.

“The level of global consumption and economic activities are unlikely to resume immediately to the pre-COVID-19 environment in 2020 as the world adjusts to a ‘new normal’ while the search for vaccines intensified. The adverse effects on employment and income levels will curtail consumption and the overall economic recovery.

“Hence, the Company cautioned that it does not expect container throughput to register an overall increase for the second half of the year 2020.

“The momentary pause in the relentless volume growth experienced in recent years incidentally has provided Westports more time to plan and execute the land reclamation phase at a more competitive cost for the mega Container Terminal expansion from CT10 to CT17.

“Westports remains committed to reinforcing Port Klang as one of the main transhipment hubs in South East Asia for international container shipping alliances”.

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