ZIM carried TEU560,000 in the first quarter of 2015, an 8% decrease from the same quarter last year. The company attributed the decline in volumes primarily to "terminating the service from Asia to Northern Europe and withdrawing from trades which are not part of the company’s business focus.”
As a result of the reduced volume of containers carried, the total revenues in Q1 2015 were USD 792 million, compared to USD 813 million in the previous quarter and USD 867 million in the same quarter of last year.
The average freight rate per TEU amounted to USD 1,251, no change from the previous quarter and an increase of 3% compared to the same quarter of last year. In contrast to its weakness in revenue, the cost of the company's transportation and related services fell 14.6% to $685 million, thanks to lower global oil prices over the past year, which cut Zim's first quarter fuel costs by $64 million, leaving them 37% lower than in the corresponding quarter last year.
Furthermore, quarterly costs for cargo handling were down $18 million. The lower costs enabled Zim to report a $40 million first quarter operating profit, compared with an $8 million operating loss in the first quarter of 2014. The company also enjoyed a 48% drop in its first quarter financing expenses, which totaled $26 million - a direct result of the debt arrangement with its creditors reducing the interest paid by the company by $17 million, compared with the corresponding quarter last year, which did not include the effect of the debt arrangement.
Zim finished the first quarter with $80 million in equity, amounting to 4% of its total assets. As of the end of March, the company's debt totaled $1.45 billion, and its cash on hand totaled US$240 million. Rafi Danieli, the president and chief executive officer of ZIM said, “We are very pleased with our performance in this quarter and the return to profitability.
The continuing improvement of our business results stems directly from the comprehensive initiatives the company advances, implementation of the business plan which focuses on opening new lines in profitable trade areas and seizing business opportunities, as well as improves operational efficiency, enhancing customer relations and the sharp reduction in fuel prices. At the same time we see the continued stagnation of the global economy and the volatile fuel prices, and we are taking steps to face these challenges.”