U-Ming Marine Transport Corp (裕民航運), a bulk shipper and member of the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團), yesterday said its net income in the first three months of the year climbed by more than 80 percent from a year earlier, thanks to better freight rates over the past two quarters.
The bulk shipper posted NT$360.39 million (US$12 million), or NT$0.42 per share, in net income in the period from January to March, up from NT$197.54 million, or NT$0.23 per share, recorded a year earlier, the company said in a stock exchange filing.
“The industry’s freight rates in the first quarter last year maintained the lowest level of the full year, leading to strong growth for the same period this year,” U-Ming Marine spokesman Stephen Chen (陳秀能) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
However, Chen maintained a conservative outlook for the bulk shipping industry this year, following a decline in freight rates from earlier this quarter and in the face of an ongoing issue with oversupply.
The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for commodities, has shown a 27.9 percent decline since the end of March.
The index decreased to 982 points yesterday, indicating weaker price momentum for the industry.
Facing a persisting headwind, the company will maintain its strategy to upgrade its fleet this year, Chen said.
Two new bulk vessels are scheduled to join its fleet in the second half of the year, replacing some older ships that do not operate at the same efficiency, he added.
Wisdom Marine Lines Co (慧洋海運), another major bulk shipper in Taiwan, has also experienced a similar trend in profitability this year.
Wisdom Marine Lines posted NT$568.11 million, or NT$1.26 per share, in net profit for the first three months of the year, up from NT$516.22 million, or NT$1.25 per share, a year earlier, the company’s stock exchange filing showed.
For the first four months of the year, Wisdom Marine saw its pretax profit drop 11.87 percent from a year earlier to NT$648.08 million, or NT$1.42 per share, the company said in a statement.
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