KUALA LUMPUR: Westports Holdings Bhd could be looking forward to some normalisation in the supply chain, although there remains a raft of challenges ahead, says group managing director Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingan Abdullah.
"Inflationary pressure, zero-Covid policy in the Far East, energy prices plus economic challenges in Europe and disrupted global wealth effects due to correcting markets are contributing to slower economic activities across many regions," he said in a statement accompanying the company's latest earnings result.
He noted also that container throughput momentum in the current year could moderate downwards towards a marginal single-digit decline.
However, on a more positive note, he believes the local economy is currently relatively less adversely affected.
"Therefore, Westports will continue to play our role as the leading gateway port for Malaysia and support her economic activities," he said.
Westports' net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2022, was down 24.45% year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM150.39mil, bringing year-to-date net profit to RM464.54mil, which was 21% lower y-o-y.
The lower profitability over the three quarters, despite a higher revenue of RM1.55bil was owing to an absence of non-recurrent insurance recoveries and an 81% surge in fuel cost.,
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Also impacting the bottomline was the one-off Prosperity Tax, which imposed a tax rate of 33% over the period.
Earnings per share for the nine months was 13.62 sen, down from 17.17 sen in the year-ago quarter.
Over the period under review, Ruben noted that challenging external economic conditions and container shipping companies’ operational adjustments contributed to a reduction in the transhipment containers handled to 4.52 million TEUs.
"The domestic economy demonstrated relatively better resilience, and export-oriented sectors benefited from increased competitiveness with a weaker local currency.
"The overall gateway volume increased by 7% to 2.95 million TEUs, with much growth during the 3rd Quarter of 2022. In the conventional segment, the company moved 8.87 million metric tonnes of cargo, with a notable increase in the break bulk," he added.
Despite the headwinds, however, Ruben reiterated the company's commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
"The company will focus and rely primarily on emissions intensity reduction and gradual decarbonisation of its fleet of terminal operating equipment.
"Earlier this year, we took delivery of the country’s first Kalmar Eco Reachstacker – the new equipment that started paving the way toward reducing our environmental intensity footprint," he said.
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