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PSA records rise in container volumes for 2008

12 January 2009 (CNA)

SINGAPORE: Singapore port operator PSA International on Monday reported handling record container volumes in 2008 despite the global economic crisis, but warned that this year was likely to be tough.

PSA said container volumes handled by its global terminals last year rose 7.3 per cent to 63.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), from the record of 58.9 million set in 2007.

Eddie Teh, group chief executive officer of PSA International, said: "2008 started strongly amidst the gathering storm clouds over the financial services industry and the major economies.

"By the end of the year, though, any lingering confidence that the major economic powerhouses would be able to stay out of a recession had been dashed and global trade worldwide had slowed to a crawl.

"Unless global economies are able to recover in the course of 2009 with the help of huge amounts of proposed spending by governments around the world, our industry will likely experience an extremely difficult year."

Teh said in a statement the port operator was preparing for the tougher months ahead, but gave no further details.

PSA International is owned by investment firm Temasek Holdings. It is one of the world's leading port operators with facilities in 16 countries across Asia, Europe and the Americas, with a total capacity of 111 million TEUs.

- AFP/so

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