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Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores is a Chilean shipping company based in Valparaiso. The firm positions itself as one of the largest container shipping companies in Latin America in terms of its global reach, carrying capacity and tonnage shipped each year. The company was established in 1872, and has been a publicly listed entity since 1892. CSAV is the 20th largest shipping carrier in the world, with a fleet of about 60 ships and a total carrying capacity of 260,800, twenty-foot equivalent containers (TEUs).
Container Shipping Business
CSAV’s primary focus is container shipping. The company currently operates more than 30 container liner services between Chile and about 200 cities in various continents. Six of those vessels, with a total carrying capacity of about 5,000 TEUs, service ports in North America. Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores currently offers schedules seven times a month between various U.S. ports such as Baltimore, Charleston and Houston to more than a dozen ports in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Bulk Cargo and Car Shipping Services
In addition to container shipping, Compañía Sud also specializes in shipping solid and liquid bulk cargoes. The company is licensed to transport a wide range of bulk cargo items, including copper, zinc, lead, forestry products, coal, and fertilizers. A substantial portion of CSAV’s revenues also comes from auto shipping services. The company operates several car-shipping services in South and Central America, and to cities in Europe and Asia as well. CSAV uses three vessels to transport automobiles between the U.S. and cities in South and Central America. The company offers the service twice every month. Currently, all of Compañía Sud’s operations in North America are based in the East Coast.
In recent years, the Chilean carrier has restructured its operations and its finances quite a bit in order to remain profitable. In 2011, the company halved the number of ships in its fleet and reduced its overall shipping capacity from 588,000 TEU to its present capacity of 260,800 TEUs. The restructuring has helped the company trim operating losses substantially over the past two years, and put the company back on the road to profitability, according to a CSAV review by the Journal of Commerce.