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HPH Trust eyes modest throughput growth in 2017

HPH Trust eyes modest throughput growth in 2017
HPH Trust is looking at a neutral to modest growth in box throughput this year at its Hong Kong and South China container terminals in view of transhipment volumes anticipated to hold steady and marginal improvements to the container shipping market.

The Hong Kong and South China-focused container terminal operator forecast that throughput at Yantian Interntional Container Terminals (YICT) will post a 2-3% increase from 11.7m teu recorded in 2016, according to Diana Lee, cfo of HPH Trust.

Throughput at Hong Kong terminals of Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT), Cosco-HIT and Asia Container Terminals (ACT) is projected to record “low single digit growth” this year compared to 10.8m teu in 2016, she said.

“The overall container market outlook will be neutral for 2017, following a market contraction from the fourth quarter of 2016,” Gerry Yim, ceo and managing director of HPH Trust, told a media briefing held in Singapore on Monday.

“In transhipment volumes, we see some positives during the first quarter due to the preparation for change in container shipping alliances. We are also not pessimistic on transhipment volumes due to the nature of bigger ships, as not many ports in the world can accommodate those ultra large vessels,” Yim said.

In 2016, however, HPH Trust reported that throughput at YICT fell partly due to a decrease in transhipment cargoes, while HIT throughput declined due to weaker intra-Asia and transhipment cargoes.

“With the formation of THE Alliance, the lines will deploy fewer but larger vessels and we see that as an opportunity for both YICT and Hong Kong terminals which are capable of handling the mega vessels and have the best infrastructure in South China,” he said.

THE Alliance comprising of K Line, MOL, NYK, Hapag-Lloyd and Yang Ming started operations since 1 April 2017.

Yim further observed that the global container shipping market is expected to see improvements arising from a considerable period of implementing cost cutting measures and the Asia-Europe rates holding quite well since the start of this year.

Meanwhile, Singapore-listed HPH Trust has posted a first quarter net profit of HKD375.9m ($48.3m), a sharp 52.7% fall compared to the gain of HKD794.2m in the same period of 2016, due mainly to an absence of a one-off HKD430m received by HIT in the year-ago period relating to government rent and rates refund. Revenue in the first three months was registered at HKD2.58bn, down 6.3% year-on-year.

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