CHAIRMAN of TS Lines, Chen Te Shen says controlling costs and services additions on routes with growing demand have led to the Taiwan carrier’s 170 per cent year-on-year increase in profits.
The Taiwanese operator of the intra-Asia carrier reported profits of TWD650 million (US$21.49 million), achieved by responding to challenging conditions caused by Covid-19 with the company withdrawing from the US trades and concentrating on operating intra-Asian and Asia-Australia routes. Mr Chen said the company further reduced costs by redelivering chartered vessels that were deployed on withdrawn services.
The leased fleet increased the flexibility of the company’s operations. While owning a certain percentage of newly built own ships, with high fuel efficiency, allowed the company to reduce costs further, reports Container News, Jacksonville.
Mr Chen said that there is a silver lining in the pandemic, as oil prices collapsed to an 18-year low, resulting in low-sulphur fuel oil becoming cheaper. This meant compliance with the International Maritime Organization’s emissions cap was more affordable.
“Oil prices fell sharply in March. As the fuel surcharge was calculated based on the oil price of the previous quarter, when our actual bunker costs fell, the company’s profit increased," explained Mr Chen.
Cargoes to and from India and the Philippines declined during Q2, but TS Lines added services to Thailand and Vietnam, where cargo demand remained strong. Consequently, the carrier’s operating profit for Q2 2020 is forecast to be TWD700 million.
The chairman said: “We’ll continue to acquire vessels and commission newbuildings. Three years ago, we aimed to own five vessels. At the time, we operated 36 vessels. Today, we are operating 46 ships, including 12 owned vessels. Another three are under construction. Today’s newbuildings are fuel-efficient, but it takes two years for a vessel to be built. If there are suitable pre-owned ships in the market, we’ll consider second-hand purchases."