Port operator HPH Trust has warned of an unprecedented level of uncertainty, in consequence of increasing trade tensions and disputes between the US and both China and the EU, as it released interim results.
Throughput at the Trust’s ports fell 1% below the same period last year. Yantian International Container Terminal boosted throughput by 1%, so the combined throughput of Hong Kong’s HIT, COSCO-HIT and ACT, fell 3%.
The year to date net profit after tax attributable to unit-holders was HK$315.4m, HK$120.6m or 28% below last year.
A 3% decline in outbound cargoes to the EU more than offset a 3% increase in outbound cargoes to the US. YICT’s throughput growth in the first six months of 2018 was mainly attributed to growth in the US and transhipment cargoes, but was partially offset by the decrease in empty cargoes. The fall in HPHT Kwai Tsing’s throughput was mainly due to a reduction in transhipment cargoes.
“The level of uncertainty in political and economic relations as it pertains to trade has increased significantly over the course of the year to date and shows little sign of abating,” the Trust said.
“The impact of measures which may arise out of the trade disputes, especially those between the United States and China, on the performance of HPH Trust for the remainder of the year cannot readily be quantified given the level of uncertainty that currently prevails as to both the specific nature; extent; and timing of such measures and the consequent precise impact they may have on local and global trade flows and, as such, HPH Trust’s business.
“From an industrial standpoint, and as noted before, consolidation of ownership within the shipping industry continues and with it the deployment of mega vessels intended to promote fleet and capacity optimization and drive cost efficiencies. A further significant industry trend will be increasing emphasis placed on security in the light of cyber attacks