Japan's three leading shipping lines - Nippon Yusen K K (NYK), Mitsui O S K Lines (MOL) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha ("K" Line) - incurred heavy losses in fiscal 2011 ended last month due to higher fuel costs and falling rates.
NYK posted a record-high net loss of US$909 million, a reversal from a profit of$980.49 million a year earlier, while MOL logged a net loss of $324.71 million in a turnaround from a profit of $727.56 million, reported Kyodo news agency.
"K" Line booked a net loss of $516.21 million against a year-before profit of $382 million.
The results reflected fare-cutting competition due to the successive placement of large container vessels, which caused falls in container rates, as well as the yen's appreciation and higher fuel costs resulting from rises in crude oil prices.
Sales dropped 6.3 percent to $22.6 billion at NYK, seven percent to $17.98 billion at MOL and 1.3 percent to $12.14 billion at "K'' Line.
While the three firms are projecting net profits for fiscal 2012 ending next March, a MOL official said rates are likely to fall in the latter half of the fiscal year.