JAPANESE owned, but Singapore-based ocean carrier Ocean Network Express (ONE) posted a profit of US$4.2 billion , drawn on quarterly revenues of $7.6 billion, up 125 per cent year on year.
While there was only a four per cent increase in second quarter liftings to 3.2 million TEU, rates came in at $2,375 per TEU against $1,032 per TEU last year, reports London's Loadstar.
Apart from a quarter-to-quarter 65 per cent hike in bunker costs, to $509 per ton, ONE said its operational costs had increased "due to faster vessel speeds".
In its second quarter, ONE carried 649,000 TEU on Asia-North America headhaul, 15 per cent less than in the previous year, which it attributed to port congestion at Los Angeles and Long Beach.
In contrast, on its Asia-Europe headhaul trade, the carrier increased liftings six per cent to 443,000 TEU.
"Like our competitors, we could have carried even more freight had we not been forced to blank so many Asia sailings, due to gaps in the schedule resulting from heavily delayed vessels returning from overseas," said ONE chief executive Jeremy Nixon.
"As things stand, we see no major improvement in the current situation, particularly in North America," he said.
ONE's fleet stands at 217 ships, for a total capacity of 1.6 million TEU, of which 55 per cent is chartered-in, ranking the line sixth in the carrier league table, just ahead of Evergreen, which however has a far bigger orderbook, of 81 vessels for 661,000 TEU compared with ONE's 24 ships for 322,000 TEU.
And the dearth of open containerships on the charter market is inhibiting the Japanese line's growth potential, it said.
"The charter market for container vessels is sold out, and so the ability to augment our core fleet in the immediate short-term is constrained," said Mr Nixon.