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American Shipper

China Shipping plans 8 new services this year

China Shipping plans 8 new services this year

   Fast-growing China Shipping Container Lines is planning to start another eight liner services this year, as it takes delivery of 21 newly built containerships.

   Presiding over the carrier’s relentless expansion, Li Kelin, chairman of the Chinese carrier, said the company plans to “gradually inaugurate” eight services, including on the route from Asia to the U.S. West Coast, from Asia to South America, from South East Asia to Europe, from Asia to the Mediterranean, and from South East Asia to Australia.

   It was already known that China Shipping would enter the South American market for the first time in May, with a direct service connecting Asia and the East Coast of South America, in cooperation with CMA CGM.

   “It is expected by the market that freight rates in 2005 will continue to rise slightly,” Li said in a statement contained in the company’s annual report, just published in Hong Kong.

   “Taking into account the expected shipping market situation in 2005, all the major freight conferences around the world have planned for raising freight rates in the near future,” he added. China Shipping “also intends to raise freight rates of some trade lanes.”

   As previously reported, China Shipping increased its revenue 46 percent to 22.3 billion Renminbi ($2.7 billion) and lifted its carryings 29 percent to 3.7 million TEUs in 2004, a year Li described as “an exceptional year.”

   Li said profits earned by the company in 2004 — RMB4 billion ($486 million) net after tax — exceeded the targets it had set last year at the time of the company’s initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

   The shipping company acquired RMB6.3 billion ($761 million) of fixed assets such as ships last year, up from RMB3.5 billion in 2003, and nearly quadrupled its shareholders’ funds to RMB12.8 billion ($1.5 billion), according to financial information released to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

   Li said China Shipping recorded “encouraging performance across all trade lanes” in the first months of this year.

   China Shipping Container Lines is majority-owned by the state-controlled China Shipping Group and 40-percent owned by the public.