China Shipping Development Co (CSDC), the nation's largest oil carrier, said its 2008 profit rose 16.9 percent, boosted by strong demand for energy-related bulk shipping services.
Net income climbed to 5.37 billion yuan ($839 million), on sales of 17.5 billion yuan, 38 percent more than a year earlier, the Shanghai-based company said in its 2008 earnings report.
The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), a measure of rates for carrying coal, iron ore and other commodities, fell 93 percent by the end of the year as transportation demand dropped drastically in the second half of 2008.
The China Coastal Bulk Freight Index (CCBFI), a barometer of the shipping market, fell 55 percent by the end of the last year due to weak demand from power plants and steel mills in the second half of the year.
The Baltic Dirty Tanker Index, a measure of chartering rates, rose 34.4 percent in 2008, helped by rising demand for gasoline and other fuels in China, the world's second- largest energy user.
The combined transportation turnover of CSDC in 2008 reached 229.34 billion ton nautical miles, up 6 percent year-on-year, and its core business revenue climbed 38.4 percent to 17.5 billion yuan.
The company plans to expand by 19 ships with total loads of 2.72 million tons, including 14 oil tankers of 2.26 million tons and five bulk ships of 460,000 tons.
CSDC, a unit of State-owned China Shipping (Group) Co, operates a fleet of oil tankers and dry-bulk vessels mainly for carrying coal. The company has boosted cooperation with its largest customers, such as Baosteel Group Corp and PetroChina Co, through ventures and long-term contracts.