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The world’s largest manufacturer of shipping containers saw profits in the first nine months of the year soar by 66% on the back of renewed demand for both dry and reefer units.

China International Marine Containers (CIMC) today reported to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it had made a net profit of $265m on group revenue of $8bn between January and September this year, a rise of 20%.

Sales of dry containers topped a million teu, a rise of 23%, while sales of reefer units were up 29% to 96,000teu, which it said was on the back of a resurgence of consumer demand in North America and Europe.

“Driven by the recovery of the European and US economies and the launching of new vessels, the global shipping industry’s demand for containers picked up to a certain extent,” management said in a statement, although it added that another component in the growth in profits was sales in its offshore business.

Drewry Maritime Equity Research said that after a few years of stagnation, it expected the global box fleet to show continuous growth over the next few years.

“We forecast growth of 11%/5%/9% in the annual global box deliveries for the industry in 2014/15/16, driven by favourable demand-supply dynamics in the container shipping industry. In addition, we expect the box replacement demand to grow, albeit slowly during 2014-16, primarily because of the opening of new re-sale outlets in regions outside the more established markets of Europe, North America and Australia, and in developed Asia.

“At the same time, there has been a strong recovery in the demand for used equipment to carry one-way project-cargo shipments, whereby the container is sold to the receiver along with the cargo. Drewry forecasts the global box fleet to expand through 2014-17 at a rate (less than 5%) achieved in recent years,” it said.

CIMC released its results as it also unveiled a new partnership between tracking technology firm Globe Tracker (GTI) and CIMC’s recently established intelligent solutions division, CIMC Internet of Mobile Things International.

The agreement sees CIMC named as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of Globe Tracker’s tracking, monitoring and remote asset management equipment, and gives it the ability sell the equipment already integrated into the containers – potentially savings carriers and 3PLs significant installation costs.

“Integration of tracking into the container equipment at the production level may reduce installation costs and facilitate adoption of the technology.  GTI and CIMC collaboration may reduce capital expenditures associated with implementation of current aftermarket tracking solutions,” the two companies said in a statement.

Separately, CIMC said it remained the subject of an anti-dumping investigation by US authorities, which in June said there were “reasonable signs indicating that the 53ft dry cargo containers imported from China to the United States had caused material hindrance or substantial injury to the establishment of the domestic industry in the United States”.

53ft containers are widely used in domestic US road transport, and if the investigation’s initial findings are upheld it could see duties imposed on imported units from CIMC and compatriot box manufacturer Singamas increase by 10.5%, although CIMC said the effect on its finances would be negligible.

“As revenue from 53ft dry cargo containers only accounts for a small proportion of the Group’s total revenue, the above investigation will not have a significant impact on the Group’s business operations and financial conditions,” it said.

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