P&O Nedlloyd's first quarter results for 2004 improved by $79 million compared to the same quarter 2003, moving from a loss of $58 million to an operating profit of $21 million.
Commenting on the Q1 result and the full year outlook, Royal P&O Nedlloyd CEO Philip Green said: "The improvement of our financial performance is encouraging in what is traditionally the weakest quarter of the year. We continue to set our sights higher and we are determined to deliver a further improvement in profitability during the course of this year."
"Supply and demand for container shipping looks favorable for 2004 and, provided world trade continues to grow, the outlook for freight rates is positive and in line with our previous expectations."
A feature in the quarter's results has been the improvement in average freight rates, up 15 percent overall on Q1 2003. The increases have been particularly strong in the Europe Asia Trades (19 per cent) and Americas (17 per cent) compared with the same quarter last year.
On a comparable basis with Q1 2003 volumes shipped grew by 7 percent. Total volume growth was 5 percent including the impact of closing some loss making trades.