HPH Trust Hong Kong terminals see H1 volume slide 3%

The gathering storm ahead of a possible full-on trade war has started to become evident in the first half results of port operating companies, with Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Trust reporting that overall throughput for the first six months fell 1% to 11.2m teu.

While throughput at its Yantian International Container Terminals (YICT) was 2% higher at 5.9m teu, volumes at HPH Trust’s Hong Kong-based terminals fell 3% to 5.3m teu. YICT’s throughput growth was mainly attributed to growth in the US and transshipment cargoes, but was partially offset by the decrease in empty containers handled.

Not only was throughput hit at HIT, COSCO-HIT and ACT, collectively known as HPHT Kwai Tsing hit by a reduction in transhipment cargoes but average revenue per teu was also lower than the previous corresponding period after certain revisions to tariffs after the liner realignments last year, HPH Trust said in a stock market announcement.

Naturally, the trust’s net profit plunged by more than a quarter to HKD315.4m ($40.2m) from HKD436.0m previously. Distributions also fell 10.3% to HKD742.2m and distribution per unit fell to 8.52 HK cents from 9.50 HK cents previously.

On the whole, although outbound cargoes to the US continued to grow in the second quarter of 2018 by 3%, exports to the EU declined 3% from the previous corresponding period. 

Looking ahead, HPH Trust warned: “The prospects for global trade for 2018 face an almost unprecedented level of uncertainty, particularly in consequence of increasing trade tensions and disputes between the United States and both China and the European Union.”

It added: “The level of uncertainty in political and economic relations as it pertains to trade has increased significantly over the course of the year to date and shows little sign of abating.”

Read More: US-China trade war to hit containers hardest

More worryingly still, HPH Trust went as far as to say it could not quantify the potential impact of trade disputes for the rest of the because of “the level of uncertainty that currently prevails as to both the specific nature; extent; and timing of such measures and the consequent precise impact they may have on local and global trade flows and, as such, HPH Trust’s business”.

Against this background, HPH Trust said it “remains both vigilant and cautious about expected cargo volume for 2018, particularly in the light of the trade and geopolitical tensions referred to above and will continue to adhere to strict financial discipline”.

 

Posted 24 July 2018

© Copyright 2019 Seatrade (UBM (UK) Ltd). Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Seatrade.

Vincent Wee

Asia Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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