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RCL sees container freight rate almost halved in 12 months

Photo: RCL RCL_Naming_of_Thanya_Bhum_at_Imabari
Thai-listed Regional Container Lines (RCL) has seen average freight rates nearly halved over the last year.

Intra-Asia and feeder carrier said in its Q1 2023 results that rates had dropped from $733 per teu in the first quarter of 2022 to $394 per in the first quarter of this year.

“This was mainly due to the alleviation in port congestion after Covid pandemic as well as the decrease in the demand resulting from global economic slowdown,” RCL said. However, the company noted that container freight rates remained higher than in the pre-Covid period.

Liftings for the container line were also down 11% in Q1 2023 compared to the same period a year earlier.

RCL reported a net profit of THB913m ($26.3m) for Q1 2023 down sharply from THB7.31bn in the same quarter in 2022.

As rates and volumes have returned to pre-Covid norms RCL said the market had become more competitive.

“In response to intensifying market competition, the company has proactively adapted to the changing economic and market landscape by expanding its markets beyond intra-Asia destinations including Africa, implementing reefer container business, and modernising its fleet to enhance operational efficiency,” it said.

RCL took delivery of the 12,000 teu Thanya Bhum which has been time-chartered out to a third party. The company has also acquired two secondhand vessels of 1,900 teu and 1,700 teu in capacity that will join its fleet in Q2 this year