Regional Container Lines (RCL) has celebrated a doubling of profits with a further vessel acquisition.

The Thai-listed container carrier has purchased an unnamed 5,000-teu vessel for $37m, according to a statement to the Thai stock exchange.

The Bangkok-listed carrier also reported another set of bumper profits.

However, the result was impacted by both lower volumes and freight rates caused by lockdowns in China.

Profit in the second quarter hit $212m, more than double the $101m logged in the same period last year.

Revenues were $411m, up from $250m over the same period.

Profits were however lower than in the first three months of the year.

Volumes came under immense pressure after the implementation of China’s zero Covid-19 policy, the company said.

That dragged profit down 11% in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter.

Lockdowns led to an 8% decline in volumes and nudged freight rates down 1% quarter-on-quarter.

'Disruptions and uncertainties'

The changing market scenario comes at a pivotal juncture for RCL where Twinchok Tanthuwanit took over as managing director in June.

“All in all, the container industry will continue to be challenged by a series of disruptions and uncertainties. But the company will use every tool at its disposal to cope with volatilities," the company said.

RCL has used the container shipping boom to renew its fleet with secondhand and newbuilding orders.

The company has bought around 10 secondhand container ships since early 2021.

The most recent was the 5,888-teu Araya Bhum (ex-OOCL Vancouver, built 2006) which the company acquired in March from Japan’s Shoei Kisen Kaisha for $34.8m.

The vessel is a sister vessel to the 5,888-teu Aka Bhum (ex OOCL Antwerp, built 2006) which the company purchased in August last year.

RCL, which currently owns and operates a fleet of around 45 vessels with sizes ranging between 388 teu and 6,310 teu, is one of the biggest intra-Asia liner players with an extensive route network across Asia.

It also operates services with partners using larger vessels from China to the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

In addition to its secondhand acquisitions, the company has embarked on an $824m newbuilding programme.

The program includes four 11,714 teu vessels purchased for a total of $466m for delivery from the fourth quarter of 2022 through to 2024.

RCL also has orders for four 7,000 teu vessels costing a total of $328m for delivery in 2024 and 2025.