Ocean Network Express (ONE) said that with vaccinations being rolled out across the globe the market conditions brought on by Covid-19 should ease, but the effect of virus mutations could yet destabilise the global economy again making forecasts for the year difficult.

The line’s comments accompanied the carrier’s 2020 full year results which showed a record profit of US$3.48 billion, an increase of US$3.38 billion from FY2019’s full year results.

Profits increased as demand bounced back in the second half of 2020 following lockdowns in both Europe and North America.

“The FY2021 economic environment will change as the global situation of Covid-19 changes. It is therefore extremely difficult to make a performance forecast and as such ONE’s forecasts for FY2021 are yet to be finalised,” said the line.

In Q4 2020 volumes showed strong growth on the Pacific, increasing 40% year-on-year while the recovery also spread to other trades, notably the Asia to Europe services.

According to ONE the resurgence of Covid-19 led to labour shortages and operational restrictions in many locations, notably on the US West Coast, “resulting in longer port stays, port congestion, and heavy rail and truck traffic.” Moreover, increased container dwell times occurred due to truck and chassis shortages and warehouse capacity shortages in the US.