The shipping industry faced many challenges during the 12 months
ended 31 December 2018 (“FY18”) as geopolitical issues weighed on trade flows and impacted fuel prices. Amid these challenges, we continue to be more nimble and responsive, by collaborating with our business partners for better synergies and efficiency. Our effort in recent years to consolidate our position, and maintain a healthy balance sheet while remaining alert to potential opportunities, have helped us become more resilient against the headwinds buffeting the industry.
We achieved a 9.8% improvement in revenue to USD422.3 million in FY18, compared to USD384.6 million in the previous financial year (“FY17”). This was underpinned by higher contribution from the container shipping business on the back of a 13.7% increase in container volume handled over the previous year, even as contribution from the bulk and tankers shrank in tandem with our reduced fleet size. We recorded a 10.6% rise in cost of services to USD400.7 million, in line with the higher revenue. Key contributory factors to the increase in cost of services included higher bunker prices and charter-hire rates, as well as freight charges associated with cooperative and slot exchange partnership arrangements. Taking this into account, along with higher other operating expenses and financial expenses and lower other operating income, we turned in net profitattributable to shareholders of USD8.3 million in FY18, which was 21.5% lower than that recorded in FY17.
In appreciation of our shareholders’ steadfast support throughout the years, the Board has proposed a tax-exempt final dividend of 0.75 Singapore cents for FY18. This is subject to your approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting on 29 April 2019. If approved, the dividend is expected to be paid in
IN THE SPIRIT OF COOPERATION AND SERVICE EXCELLENCE
While the container shipping industry continues to navigate troubled waters, we remain confident about the sustainability of our operations, given our strong track record and ability to respond quickly to changes in the operating environment. As a service provider, our primary mission is to provide transportation services to meet the demands of our customers’ logistics and transportation activities. We try our best to fulfil our customers’ needs in a manner that is efficient and sustainable for all. The increase in container volume handled in FY18 reflects our commitment and readiness to meet the varied requests of our customers.
To expand our geographical coverage in an asset-light manner, we are cooperating more extensively with some industry players on slot exchange arrangements. We have been able to work with customers and partners to arrive at win-win solutions because of our ability to adjust and adapt quickly to the dynamic industry situation, through effective and strategic fleet management.
The bulk and tanker business continued to face headwinds in FY18 with charter-out rates generally lower compared to the previous year. In view of the disposal of two older and less competitive tankers in October 2017 and April 2018 respectively, our tanker fleet in FY18 was smaller than what it was in FY17. Nevertheless, the remaining vessels in our fold were well-employed, allowing us to turn in a relatively steady performance overall. On the other hand, demand for dry bulk shipping services has remained muted.
To further strengthen our value proposition to our customers, we maintained a lookout for opportunities to grow our shore-side business, particularly in warehousing, trucking and container depot. By extending our participation in the transportation value chain, we hope to value-add and provide a wider range of logistics solutions to expand our revenue stream.