MAERSK's standalone port operator, APM Terminals, has dismissed the notion that it charges less to its parent's Maersk Line, thus providing the reason why its own profits are so low and Maersk Group's profits are so high.
According to a survey conducted by Alphaliner of 16 major port operators' operating profits in 2013, APMT posted an EBITDA margin of 20.6 per cent compared to a survey average of 41.3 per cent.
But APMT said the comparison fails to account for its global portfolio of terminals, which is "very different than the competitor portfolios of HPH, PSA and DPW [Hutchison Port Holdings, PSA International and DP World]."
APMT said operating profits from its main global competitors are higher because of the high volumes in major ports of Hong Kong, Singapore and Jebel Ali ports where their flagship terminals are anchored.
APMT said it has no such "flagships" and is the only global port operator with a major presence in the US and Europe with 24 of its 66 terminals in these markets that have lower profits and higher costs.
But Alphaliner said APMT declined to provide operating profits for terminals outside the US and Europe, and a review showed these European rival operators had 3-11 per cent higher profits than APMT's blended global margins.
APMT said its lower operating profit is as result because operating more low-profit transshipment hubs - vis-a-vis high-profit gateway ports - than other terminal operators in the Asia/Europe trade.
Of these, the three main hubs of Tanjung Pelepas (7.63 million TEU), APMT Algeciras (3.14 million TEU) and APMT Tangier (1.48 million TEU) account for 12.25 million TEU or 6.76 million TEU for APMT in 2013, based on Alphaliner calculations.
In terms of operating profit, Tianjin Port Development Co came in first with a 55.2% operating profit gain in 2013, followed by HPH Trust with a 54.4% increase, followed by Global Ports with 53.5%, China Merchants with 48.9%, PSA with 48.3%, DP World with 46%, ICTSI with 44.3%, Westports with 40.2%, Cosco Pacific with 39.8%, Xiamen Port Co with 39.8%, MMC with 39.5%, Qingdao Port Co with 35.4%, Hutchison Port Holdings with 32.1%, HHLA with 31.7%, Dalian Port Co with 28.1, Eurogate with 23.9 and finally. APM Terminals with an operating profit of 20.6%.
Source : HKSG.