Full year 2015 revenue was down 43 per cent to $6.02 billion. NOL, is in final stage talks with French shipping giant CMA CGM, about a takeover of its principal holding, the container shipping line APL.
All required anti-trust filings have been made in the sale and CMA and NOL are working to obtain the necessary anti-trust clearances, now expected by mid-2016.
In the fourth quarter NOL narrowed its $85 million net loss of 2014 to $77 million last year, drawn on revenues of $1.28 billion down 43 per cent.
"The last quarter of 2015 was particularly difficult," said NOL Group president and CEO Ng Yat Chung.
"Container freight rates hit historic lows across major trade lanes as new vessel capacity came on stream amid softening market demand," he said.
"Nonetheless, APL continued to reap cost savings and yield improvements. On a full year basis, its total costs of sales per FEU continued to offset the decline in total revenue per FEU, helping APL to continue reducing losses."
Quarterly freight rates fell 22 per cent. Volume slid 12 per cent year on year mostly because of a decline of backhaul volumes out of the US and the Gulf, said the company.
In response to weak global demand, APL maintained prudent management of its deployed capacity, while keeping its headhaul asset utilisation rate at 90 per cent.
The container shipping line maintained its rigorous cost management as well as a yield-focused trade strategy that emphasised network rationalisation and better cargo selection, the statement said.
APL achieved quarterly savings of $100 million, bringing its full year cost savings to US$435 million. As a result of that and lower bunker prices, APL's total cost of sales per FEU fell 17 per cent year on year.