Profits overboard

THE collapse of Hanjin Shipping, a South Korean container line, on August 31st brought home the extent of the storm in shipping. The firm’s bankruptcy filing left 66 ships, carrying goods worth $14.5 billion, stranded at sea. Harbours around the world, including the Port of Tokyo, refused entry for fear of going unpaid. With their stock beyond reach, American and British retailers voiced concerns about the run-up to the Christmas shopping period.

Hanjin is not alone. Of the biggest 12 shipping companies that have published results for the past quarter, 11 have announced huge losses. Several weaker outfits are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. In Japan three firms, Mitsui OSK Lines, NYK Line and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, look vulnerable. Activist investors are now pressing for them to merge to avoid the same fate as the South Korean line.

Even the strongest are suffering. France’s CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest carrier, announced a big first-half loss on September 2nd. Maersk Line, the industry leader, and the largest firm within A.P. Moller-Maersk, a family-controlled Danish conglomerate, will be in the red this year, having lost…Continue reading

This post was originally published in the Economist.

Advertisements
Profits overboard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s