MATSON sees nearly 5-fold increase in net profit
US-FLAGGED ocean carrier Matson posted a more than near five-fold fourth quarter year on year net profit increase thanks to strong demand and pricing for transpacific container services and expedited shipping from China to the US west coast.
CEO Matt Cox said demand for expedited shipping services for e-commerce and garment shipments, among others, drove the results.
Historically a short-sea shipping line, Hawaii-based Matson said its ocean transportation segment led the gains, with operating income in that segment expected to be US$445 million to $455 million, which would be a five-fold increase from the fourth quarter of 2020.
The strong rise in Matson’s preliminary fourth-quarter earnings comes as imports from Asia rose 14.4 per cent in 2021. That growth accelerated in December as imports from Asia rose eight per cent from a month earlier.
Matson had a nearly similar size increase in its 2021 second-quarter net profit as it dispatched additional ships to bring goods from China into the US west coast.
Matson said its fourth-quarter China container volumes grew just under 33 per cent from a year ago, which would translate to about 53,600 FEU in total volume.
The growth rate, while high, comes off a small volume base as the line operates fairly small, older vessels. Total US imports from China grew 14.8 per cent year on year to 11.9 million TEU in 2021, according to PIERS data.
In 2021, Matson launched its third expedited shipping service from China to the US west coast. The carrier also made a Long Beach direct express service permanent in 2020.