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WORLD SHIPPING

Troubled Horizon Lines widens first quarter loss to US$26.8 million
Troubled Horizon Lines widens first quarter loss to US$26.8 million


JONES ACT carrier Horizon Lines has announced a first quarter net loss widening to US$26.8 million against a loss of $20.2 million in the same period last year.Friday, 11.May.2012, 22:21 (GMT)

JONES ACT carrier Horizon Lines has announced a first quarter net loss widening to US$26.8 million against a loss of $20.2 million in the same period last year.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) saw slight improvement to $5.6 million in the first quarter, up from $5 million in the same period in 2011, drawn on a growth of revenues to $263.4 from $240.7 million recorded in the first quarter last year.

"Horizon Lines generated slightly improved revenue container volume and higher EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter relative to a year ago, despite challenges that included severe winter weather in Alaska, higher fuel prices and increased expenses," said interim president and CEO Stephen Fraser.

Container volume in the first quarter totalled 57,086 revenue loads, up 0.4 per cent from 56,841 loads for the same period a year ago. Unit revenue per container totalled $4,257 in the first quarter versus $3,896 a year ago. First-quarter unit revenue per container, net of fuel surcharges, was $3,225, up one per cent from $3,192 a year ago. Bunker fuel costs averaged $693 per tonne in the first quarter, 26.5 per cent above the average price of $548 per tonne in the same quarter in 2011.

"Hawaii's performance improved significantly on solid customer support and an improving economy. Alaska's results were also better despite record cold and snowfall, which had a significant, adverse impact on customer demand and operations. Alaska was buoyed in part by domestic southbound volume that was driven by a strong seafood market. Earnings declined in Puerto Rico from the same period a year ago, due to continued slow business conditions and vessel service disruptions."

Horizon said it expects container volumes to "increase modestly, in the one per cent to two per cent range, and that container rates, net of fuel surcharges, will rise slightly from 2011 levels."

Fuel prices for 2012 are currently projected in the $725-$730 per tonne range, excluding additional costs for low sulphur fuel that will be required in the Alaska trade lane from August 1.

Said Mr Fraser: "In 2012, we are making significant investments in our Jones Act fleet with the dry-docking of three of our Puerto Rico vessels in Asia.

"Although dry-docking our vessels in Asia will add considerable transit expense in 2012, it will also facilitate extensive maintenance and high-quality enhancements that are instrumental in helping maintain service integrity in the Puerto Rico market."


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