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Zim achieves profit even as freight rates hit new lows

ZIM_PusanIsraeli container shipping carrier Zim Integrated Shipping Services said that despite a challenging market environment, it achieved its fourth consecutive quarter of operating income in the third quarter.

Net income reached US$11 million in the three months ended September 30, 2015 compared to a net loss of $63 million in the same period in 2014. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell to US$12 million compared to $14 million for the third quarter of 2014.

Volume transported in the third quarter rose 1% to 581,400 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) compared to the same period last year, as lower global demand was offset by volume growth contributed by the company’s new Z7S service.

The new service has enabled the box carrier to increase its presence in the important Asia-U.S East Coast trade, it said.

The loop, launched earlier in the year, has become one of the liner’s fastest and most reliable lines connecting South China, Southeast Asia, the Indian sub-continent, and the U.S. East Coast via the Suez Canal, said Zim.

However, revenue fell as freight rates reached “historic lows in several key trades,” added the company.

Average freight rate per TEU carried in July-September was $1,120, reflecting a 13% decrease compared to the same period last year. As a result, total revenues decreased 12% to $749 million compared to $854 million in the same period last year.

On financial results in the first nine months, Zim realized a net income of $35 million from a net loss of $192 million for the same period of 2014. Adjusted EBIT was $123 million, a reversal from the negative $17 million for the same period of 2014.

Zim improved its financial position significantly after it restructured last year a $3.4-billion debt that saw its interest payments slashed in half and ship charter fees lowered.

Photo: Matt Zimmerman

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