U-Ming Marine says 2015 a year of pain for industry

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Jun 11, 2015 - Page 13

U-Ming Marine Transport Corp (裕民航運), a member of the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團), yesterday said that industry sentiment among global bulk shippers might show signs of a strong recovery in the second half of next year.

In the mid to long-term, shipping demand for infrastructure in Asian countries is expected to be the major support for the industry, U-Ming Marine president C.K. Ong (王書吉) said.

“Analyzing the industry’s fundamentals, bulk shippers may experience a year of suffering before starting recovery from the second half of next year,” Ong told reporters after the Taipei-based company’s annual general meeting.

Wang attributed the weak industry sentiment this year to the long-running problem of oversupply and sluggish demand from China for coal — one of the major commodities carried by bulk ships.

However, after the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) becomes operational, it could generate investments of US$5.7 trillion in the next 10 to 20 years, making it a major growth driver for the industry, Ong said.

U-Ming is carefully watching shipbuilding trends in the market, hoping to maintain its competitiveness, he said.

Douglas Hsu (徐旭東), chairman of both Far Eastern Group and U-Ming Marine, said major iindustry players plan to build larger bulk ships to reduce unit costs.

U-Ming is scheduled to take delivery of four capesize bulk ships, three Panama bulk carriers and four handy vessels by the end of 2017, the company said in its annual report to shareholders.

The establishment of various free-trade alliances around the globe and growing opportunities in the Middle East could offer solid support for the industry, Hsu said.

The company might also benefit from oil tanker business via Global Energy Maritime Co Ltd (環能海運), which is a joint venture between U-Ming, Chinese Maritime Transport Ltd (中國航運) and state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan (台灣中油), Hsu added.

The company posted a net income of NT$64.28 million (US$2.06 million) for the first quarter, or NT$0.07 per share, a significant decrease from NT$361.68 million, or NT$0.42 per share, a year earlier, the company’s filings to the Taiwan Stock Exchange showed.

Consolidated sales totaled NT$3.03 billion in the first five months of the year, down 17.69 percent from the same period last year, data showed.

Shareholders yesterday approved the company’s plan to pay a cash dividend of NT$2.2 per share.