Evergreen Marine’s annual profit soared in 2022 as it continued to benefit from unprecedented strength in the container market, even though spot freight rates returned to historical norms later in the year.

The Taiwan-listed liner operator posted a profit of TWD 367bn (nearly $12bn) last year, up from TWD 262bn for 2021.

Revenue came in at TWD 627bn, a slump from TWD 489bn the previous year.

The container market hit dizzying heights in the second half of 2021, which continued into 2022 as pandemic-related supply-chain disruption forced hundreds of boxships worldwide to wait for berths amid surging demand for containerised goods.

This caused average spot freight rates for containers being shipped from China to the west coast of the US, for example, to stay above $10,000 per 40-foot equivalent unit (feu) during the period, according to the Freightos Baltic Index.

Spot freight rates, which historically stayed below $3,000 per feu, peaked at more than $20,000 per feu in September 2021 before staying above $13,000 per feu for almost the entire first half of 2022.

Liner operators continued to benefit from high contract rates even after spot rates declined.

And freight rates have since fallen back to historical levels as supply-chain disruption went away, leaving in their wake an unprecedented period of profits for operators.

These never-seen-before earnings prompted liner operators such as Evergreen to hand out huge employee bonuses at the end of 2022.

It handed out between 10 and 52 months-worth of extra pay to its workers.