A survey of seven small and medium sized carriers by Alphaliner shows those with Transpacific exposure have significantly outperformed the niche lines operating on domestic/regional trades.
US-listed Matson Navigation and SM Lines of Korea have been the main winners since 2019 in terms of increased operating profits.
At USD 1.14 bn, Matson published its highest annual operating profit in history for ocean transport in 2021.
This was an increase from USD 245 M in 2020 and USD 91 M in 2019.
The Honolulu-based line can thank its expanded CLX, CLX+, and CCX services out of China for the results: in 2021, Matson increased its China volumes by 55% to 185,000 feu, taking volumes ahead of its core Hawaii business (158,000 feu) for the first time.
The line also benefited from having its own US terminals, giving it one of the shortest transit times on the Transpacific.
With a fleet of just 92,000 teu, Matson has punched above its weight during the pandemic on an earnings-per-teu basis.