Local bulk shippers reported mixed revenue performances for the first seven months of this year, reflecting differing effects they face amid the US-China trade dispute.
Wisdom Marine Lines Co (慧洋海運), the nation’s largest dry-bulk shipper by fleet size, posted a cumulative revenue increase for the first seven months of 9.93 percent to NT$8.01 billion (US$255.4 million), outperforming its peers.
U-Ming Marine Transport Corp (裕民航運) reported an 8.61 percent fall in cumulative revenue to NT$5.1 billion, while Taiwan Navigation Co Ltd (台灣航業) posted a 6.3 percent drop to NT$1.83 billion over the period, their data showed.
Wisdom has had limited exposure to trade issues, as the firm has long-term contracts for most of its 132 vessels with fixed charter-service rates, Wisdom chief financial officer Bruce Hsueh (薛亦駿) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
The company also raised the rates mildly when it negotiated new contracts, Hsueh said.
“We still hold an upbeat outlook for the second half of this year,” Hsueh said, but added that oversupply was still an issue for the industry.
Although China has reportedly halted purchases of agricultural products from the US, imports of grain products would remain stable this year, so shipping firms would not be affected much, he said.
However, U-Ming chief financial officer Bismark Chang (張宗良) said that the trade dispute has clouded its outlook for the next six months.
U-Ming, the shipping arm of Far Eastern Group (遠東集團), in June said that it expected Chinese grain imports would recover in the second half of this year, but it now expects imports to continue falling, as Chinese farmers need fewer soybeans and corn in light of African swine fever in China, Chang said by telephone.
The outlook for the shipping industry would depend on the situation regarding Chinese grain imports, which are one of the major commodities for bulk carriers, not to mention that China is the top buyer of grain, he said.
“We can only say that Chinese imports of iron ore would recover after a collapse of a Brazilian mining dam in January,” Chang said. “We also see a steady increase in India’s coal imports for its power plants. We hope that would help stabilize our revenue.”
On a positive note, U-Ming has seen revenue continue to rise on a monthly basis, he said.
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