NOL announces first quarter losses of $245 million



Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), the major global container shipping, terminals and logistics group, has reported a net loss of $245m for the first quarter of 2009 as a result of deteriorated freight rates and a significant decline in global trade flows.

Comparing to a net profit of $121 million for the same period of 2008, the loss has impacted NOL hard, with revenue for the quarter having declined by 36% year on year to $1.54 bn due to the global downturn.

Ron Widdows, NOL Group President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “During the first quarter, a range of significant business adjustments were undertaken to better align the group’s overall network and cost structures with reduced market demand. Further cost saving initiatives have been set in motion and will be implemented as the year progress.”

Anticipating a continuation of adverse business operating conditions, the company revealed: “NOL reiterates that it expects to post a significant full-year loss. The group will continue to focus on improving asset utilisation, yields and productivity.”

Mr Widdows added that as a result of the downturn: “Logistics recorded a substantial reduction in volumes and revenues for the quarter, reflecting global economic uncertainty and declining trade activity. Our terminals activities were negatively impacted by the industry-wide decline in global container trade.”

Reported to have slashed 1,000 jobs to cut costs, Ron Widdows voluntarily agreed to take a 20% pay cut from March. The group has also idled ships as the company battles a global recession that caused a 27% drop in first-quarter traffic, and plans to double its cost-savings target for the year.