The Indian economy continued to strengthen in 2018 reclaiming itsposition as the world's fastest growing economy. This economy growth was led by a numberof factors including macro-economic policies improved consumer sentiment and structuralreforms introduced by the Government.
The global GDP in 2019 has grown by 2.6% and it is projected to grow toonly 2.7% in 2020. The growth among emerging and developing economy is estimated to dropto a 4-year low of 4% in 2019. The growth is constrained by sluggish investments and risksincluding rising trade barriers renewed financial stress and sharper than expectedslowdowns in several major economies.
At the beginning of the financial year Howe Robinson Container Index(HRCI) was at 746 points which came down to 650 points at the close of financial yearend. During the last financial year market remained volatile leading to drop in volumeand changes in the utilization level on our operating assets. Charter hire rates are nowabout 12% higher than their January low and has a positive outlook.
Shreyas shipping has lived up to the expectations and continued to be aleader and the largest player in the domestic container shipping business in India. Weended the financial year with 13 operating vessels with a capacity of 24519 TEUs. Duringthe year we acquired a container vessel namely SSL Krishna (2490 TEUs) to excel andexpand across the Indian coastline. The container vessels have maintained optimumutilization levels this year and with the help of break-bulk cargo in our multi-purposevessels we see this trend to be followed.
In the financial year 2018-19 we have endeavoured volume growth of 7%with a top line of INR 625 Cr as against INR 541 Cr reporting a growth of 16%. This yearserved as a rollercoaster ride which was driven by higher bunker fuel prices an explosionof one of our vessels SSL Kolkata and a broader gap between the demand and supply.Despite these stormy headwinds we still managed to achieve EBITDA margins of 11.26% andPAT margins of 5.39%.
This year was a year of resilience where we used the asset- light modelstrategy by chartering out vessels to get better yields during the uptrend of fuel pricesespecially in the first half of the financial year 2019. Also cabotage relaxation hashelped to use the utilization levels efficiently and use tonnage more effectively makingthe Indian trade competitive and allowing coastal movement of export/import containers byforeign vessels.
With IMO 2020 coming near we are prepared to overcome the headwindsand difficulties with alternative strategies and cost-effective business models.
In the future your Company strategies to acquire additional containervessels in a span of two years. Your company also plans to expand into Inland water waysand invest in acquisition of barges for both owning as well as operating.
Your company is also keen to have various profit centre and supportcentre verticals which will be integral part of the company. Such strategic plan can leadto a full-fledged shipping company leading to exponential growth.
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world we havealways stayed one step ahead in implementing new technologies strategies and processes tocater to the modern culture and have a competitive edge over any other.
Looking forward we only see greater opportunity ahead as businessesbecome more technology-intensive and this would drive competitive differentiation. Ouragility core attributes and belief systems which have ensured our success over the lastthirty years will continue to help us benefit and create ever more value for ourstakeholders. I thank you all for your continued support and encouragement.