THE container shipping industry made US$2.7 billion in the second quarter, the highest it's been since 2010, reports London's Loadstar.
"Looking at the financial performance, the shipping lines have been able to navigate these uncertain times rather well," said SeaIntelligence Consulting's CEO Alan Murphy.
"This has to be the result of a combination of cost-cutting and higher freight rates - nearly all carriers recorded a higher freight rate compared with the second quarter of 2019," said Mr Murphy.
Hapag-Lloyd posted the highest profitability, at $146.40 per TEU, HMM saw an EBIT per TEU of $129.10, and Maersk was just higher at $129.30 per TEU.
Yang Ming was the least profitable, with $18.60 per TEU, which was just below OOCL at $45.10 per TEU, and Cosco, at $58.30 per TEU.
"This is a very positive development for the shipping lines, as the pandemic did not impact container shipping to the extent initially feared. Industry focus will likely now be on the third quarter, which is the peak cargo season," said Mr Murphy.
With fuel prices continuing to drop, carriers have begun to withdraw low-sulphur fuel surcharges, but have become detached from the cost spread between low-sulphur and traditional heavy fuel oil since the beginning of the pandemic.
"Forwarders do not like shipping line surcharges of any nature, and we are hoping other lines will follow suit and stop their low-sulphur surcharges, as well as reconsider their policies in regards to applying surcharges for anything from equipment imbalance to port congestion," said BIFA director general Robert Keen.
"Over the past few years, the number of surcharges and fees has continued to grow - often with no real explanation or justification. In the last few days, I have heard that one line is introducing a 'merchant haulage' surcharge, while another is adding a 'container compliance' charge," said Mr Keen.
"Where is the justification for adding a surcharge for general costs involved in running the business of container shipping? Some surcharges should already be consolidated within freight rates, with any required fluctuation being managed against that figure,"