Depressed U.S./Venezuela trade kicks Seaboard into the red
A long-running decline in South American cargo volumes since last year’s general strike in Venezuela resulted in another poor quarter for Seaboard Marine, which made an operating loss of $1.4 million in the quarter ended Sept. 27.
The Miami-based shipping line’s deficit for the latest quarter compares with an operating income of $3.2 million in the third quarter of 2002.
The $4.6 million profit decrease was “primarily reflecting the impact of the political instability in Venezuela, … higher fuel costs and, to a lesser extent, increased selling expenses as a result of new routes,” said Seaboard, the parent company of Seaboard Marine.
Maritime activities had net sales of $99.3 million in the third quarter, up from $91.8 million in the corresponding quarter of 2002.
For the nine-month period ended Sept. 27, Seaboard Marine broke even, whereas it made an operating income of $12.4 million in the same period of last year. Net sales for the nine-month period rose to $295.6 million, from $279.3 million.
Seaboard said that the higher revenue figures reflect increased cargo volumes “in most existing markets,” the addition of routes during the fourth quarter of 2002 and the chartering of ships to carry military cargo to the Middle East, but also a decrease in average cargo rates.
Commenting on the Venezuela shipping market, Seaboard said that commercial activity has not yet recovered from the general strike of December 2002-February 2003.