South Korean bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean said it has made losses last year on falling trade and freight rates.

The company has posted a loss of KRW27.6bn ($24.1m) in 2009, compared to a profit of KRW 535bn ($460m) a year earlier.

The carrier’s sales dropped 53.1% to KRW3.99tn ($3.4bn) over the year.

The shipper has also reported an operating loss of KRW 82.1bn ($70m) last year, compared to an operating income of KRW674bn ($580m) a year earlier.

In Q4 2009, STX Pan Ocean posted sales of KRW1.09tn ($940m), down 45% from a year earlier.

The company said it would also expand its fleet by adding 17 newly built ships as well as making new investments of more than KRW200bn ($172m) in 2010.