Matson, a container carrier offering services between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii and Guam, as well as an eastbound service from China, said it had a profit of $9.1 million in the first quarter, ending March 31, compared to a profit of $3.8 million in the same 2012 period.
Revenue for the first quarter of this year was $394.7 million, compared with $366.1 million in the same 2012 period.
Revenue from the company's ocean transportation services was $299.9 million in the first quarter, or 7.3 percent more than the $279.5 million in the same 2012 period. Operating income in the first quarter was $18.5 million, compared with $5.8 million in the same 2012 period.
"We had a good first quarter, driven by increased volume in our Hawaii trade and higher rates in our China service," said Matt Cox, Matson's president and chief executive officer. "We also benefited from operating an optimal nine-ship fleet for most of the quarter, which led to reduced vessel expenses compared to the 10-ship fleet deployed for the first quarter last year."
He added that "with this solid quarter behind us, our outlook for the full year has shifted slightly higher. We continue to expect mixed results in our ocean transportation trade lanes as compared to 2012, as evidenced by a decrease in Guam volume during the first quarter, better than expected Hawaii volume trends and anticipated weaker China freight rates for the balance of the year."
In the first quarter, the company moved 34,300 containers to Hawaii, 5.5 percent more than in the same 2012 period. It moved 23,000 automobiles, a 36 percent increase, and 14,200 containers from China to the United States, a 3.6 percent increase.
Volume with Guam was 5,800, a 4.9 percent decline, while freight moves to Micronesia and the South Pacific included 2,400 containers, a 60 percent increase. ( In January, the company purchased the assets of Reef Shipping Ltd. Accordingly, given new route configurations in the South Pacific trade, Matson said it had reclassified volume from Yap and Palau that had previously been recorded in Guam volume totals.)
The company's logistics business had revenue of $94.8 million in the first quarter compared to $86.6 million in the same 2012 period, a 9.5 percent increase. Operating income from that business was $200,000, compared to $300,000 in the same 2012 period.
Matson said SSAT, its terminal joint venture with SSA Marine, "continues to be negatively impacted by significantly reduced lift volume due to customer losses from prior years. It is therefore expected that SSAT will operate at a breakeven level for the year." - Chris Dupin