Higher cargo volumes to Guam helped Matson report higher profits in the fourth quarter and for all of 2012.
Horizon Lines, Matson’s main competitor in the U.S. mainland-to-Hawaii trade lane stopped serving Guam in late 2011 when it discontinued its U.S. West Coast-Guam-China service.
Matson said it carried 25,500 containers between the U.S. mainland and Guam in 2012, 67.8 percent more than the 25,500 it carried in 2011.
Matson said it had fourth quarter profit of $15.6 million compared to $1.6 million in the same 2011 period. Operating income was $23.9 million versus $11.8 million a year earlier. Revenue in the fourth quarter was $398.3 million compared to $374.9 million in the same 2011 period.
For the full year, the company had a profit of $45.9 million compared to $34.2 million in 2011. Operating income in 2012 was $96.7 million compared to $78.6 million in 2011. Revenue for 2012 was $1.56 billion compared to $1.46 billion in 2011.
"Continued strong Guam volume and an improved rate environment in our expedited China service led to a solid fourth quarter. For the year, these same factors, and continuing volume strength out of China resulted in a satisfactory performance,” said Matt Cox, Matson's president and chief executive officer. “Yet we believe we can do better.
“Looking into 2013, we expect mixed results in our ocean transportation trade lanes as compared to 2012, but on balance we expect to improve operating margins. Likewise, we expect margins in our logistics group to improve. These gains, and the cash flow generated, will allow us to support a strong dividend, maintain an investment grade credit standing and provide capacity for future vessel replacement and growth investments," he added.
Ocean transportation revenue increased 10.6 percent in 2012 because of the increased Guam volumes, and an increase in China freight rates and increased fuel surcharges resulting from higher fuel prices, partially offset by reduced container and automobile volumes in the Hawaii trade. - Chris Dupin