At the same time the group has obtained bonded warehouse status for its Duisburg, Germany terminal. A bonded warehouse is a building or other secure area where dutiable goods may be stored or handled, or where they undergo manufacturing operations without duty having to be paid on them.
Normally, when goods are imported into the free movement zone of the European Union, value added tax (VAT) and Customs duties should be paid before the goods can be stored, waiting to be sold. However, it is also possible to store the goods in a customs bonded warehouse, so the payment of duty/VAT can be postponed indefinitely. In this case, import Customs duties and VAT only need to be paid when the goods are actually imported into the free movement zone of the EU.
For the 6 month period ended 31 March 2013, InterBulk’s liquid bulk division (tank containers) saw “low activity levels” in the first quarter followed by a marked improvement in the second quarter as a result of the more positive environment for the chemical sector in the USA, Middle East and China. Margins have been under pressure from lower than normal utilisation due to fleet expansions made by many operators in 2011 and regional competitors entering the global market. Utilisation is now slowly recovering and InterBulk believes this will eventually lead to a margin recovery in the sector.