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Renewed demand on the Asia-Europe and transpacific trades was in further evidence today after Hong Kong-based shipping line OOCL released its 2017 fourth-quarter operational update, showing double-digit growth on the east-west deepsea trades.
The carrier also reported that full-year Asia-Europe volumes vaulted past the 1m teu mark, to end 2017 at just under 1.14m teu – growth of 19.7% on 2016.
And despite a normal fourth-quarter slowdown, the carrier’s volumes in the period were 11% up, to a shade under 300,000 teu.
Similarly, the transpacific trade saw full-year growth of 16.3%, to 1.8m teu, and fourth-quarter year-on-year growth of 7.5%, to 472,000 teu.
Revenue on both routes jumped dramatically on the back of stronger demand that led tighter supply, despite the carrier offering 5.1% greater capacity across its network.
Asia-Europe revenue was up 43.9%, to US$1,1bn from $766m in 2016, and on the transpacific, it increased 19.9% to just over $2bn, from $1.7bn the year before.
However, this growth was offset by a marked decline in OOCL’s intra-Asia volumes, which includes those to Australasia.
Fourth-quarter volumes on intra-Asia declined 14.2% to just under 737,000teu, below the 860,000 teu in the corresponding period in 2016, while full-year volumes declined 8.1%, to finish the year at 2.9m teu compared with 3.2m teu in 2016.
Given that intra-Asia represents about half of OOCL’s business, this had the effect of dragging down the total volumes across its network by 3.3% in the fourth quarter, to 1.12m teu. Total full-year volumes grew, however, to reach just under 6.3m teu and the net result was a double-digit increase in sales.
The line said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange: “For the full year of 2017, total volumes increased by 3.6% over the same period last year and total revenues recorded a 15.4% growth.
“Loadable capacity increased by 5.1%. The overall load factor was 1.2% lower than the same period in 2016. Overall average revenue per teu increased by 11.4% compared with the same period last year,” .