Westports’ 2017 container volume falls 9.5%

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 4, 2018.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Westports Holdings Bhd handled 9.5% less container traffic last year, which the terminal operator in November last year attributed to the industry’s recent mergers and acquisitions among global container shipping lines.

In 2017, it handled nine million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) of containers, compared with 9.95 million TEUs in 2016.

In a statement yesterday, Westports pointed out that the result is, however, within its volume guidance of being lower by between 7% and 12% than in 2016. It provided the guidance when announcing its second-quarter 2017 results in July last year.

In November last year, its chief executive officer Ruben Emir Gnanalingam noted that the container shipping industry had gone through unprecedented recalibration and realignment processes which affected almost all major liners.

“The industry’s recent mergers and acquisitions have affected our container volume handled, especially of trans-shipment boxes. At Westports, we now serve as one of the Southeast Asian trans-shipment hubs for Ocean Alliance, and also as a port of call for a service under The Alliance,” he had said.

Ocean Alliance members comprise Cosco Container Lines, CMA CGM, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line.

Westports said the Ocean Alliance members are among the key clients of the terminal and the alliance unveiled its Day One Product — which sets out the proposed Ocean Alliance’s network — before the commencement of its services on April 1, 2017.

In December 2017, the Ocean Alliance announced the Day Two Product service offering that will commence in April this year. “Port Klang continues to be one of the leading trans-shipment hubs in the region for Ocean Alliance,” added Westports.

Westports handled a record container volume of 9.95 million TEUs in 2016, which was an improvement of 10% over the previous year’s 9.05 million TEUs — also a record volume then.

Westports shares closed down four sen or 1.05% at RM3.75 yesterday, bringing a market capitalisation of RM12.79 billion.