Russia’s largest container terminal operator, Global Ports, suffered a difficult 2014, beset by the country’s economic problems, as per its latest results.
Gross container throughput declined 4.3% year-on-year to 2.66m teu, down from 2.77m teu in 2013, mainly due to falling volumes at its St Petersburg terminals.
Petrolesport (PLP) handled 658,000 teu, a decrease of 7.5% compared to 711,000 teu in 2013 while First Container Terminal (FCT) saw volumes tumble 13.2% from 1.1m teu in 2013 to 941,000 teu last year.
However, volumes at Ust Luga Container Terminal (ULCT) jumped by 68.1% to 104,000 teu and containerised cargo handled in the company’s Finnish ports segment rose by 12.2% to 251,000 teu.
In a conference call with analysts, Global Ports’ chief commercial officer, Roy Cummins, said: “The outlook is uncertain. We have seen a sharp decline in the rouble exchange rate and an increase in [the Russian] interest rate. Both of those things clearly have impacted containerised imports and consumer sentiment.
He added: “In January and February container volumes in Russia saw a sharp decline in the order of 23% down year-on-year. It is likely that that level of performance will continue through the first quarter and into the early second quarter.”
Revenue last year was 4.5% lower than in 2013 at $562.4 m due to lower throughput in both container and bulk cargo which was partially offset by growth of 3.5% in revenue per teu to $212m per teu.
This happened because Global Ports prioritised pricing discipline above market share according to Cummins.
The company made a net loss of $193.1m following a $114m net profit in 2013, with the blame partly attributed to the rouble’s 41% depreciation against the US dollar last year.
According to Global Ports, US dollar denominated borrowings in the group’s subsidiaries were hit by the rouble’s devaluation, creating a non-cash net foreign exchange loss of $418.5m and an increase in the net finance cost.