I’ll now turn the call over to our President and Chief Executive Officer, Victor Garcia.
Thank you, Tim. Tim. Good afternoon. We are very pleased with our first quarter results and we continue to be very optimistic about the outlook for containers in 2012. For the first quarter we reported quarterly year-over-year revenue growth of 42% and an increase in earnings per fully diluted share up 12% to $0.73 per share.
Typically the first quarter is our slowest, as our customers have more limited demand after the holiday season in the fourth quarter. As we expected, our utilization declined from 97% in the fourth quarter to 94% this quarter. The seasonal decline was modest and the majority of our redelivery in Asia, where demand will be strongest over the coming weeks.
Over the past month, demand for containers has significantly improved for both new containers and depot equipment. Many of our customers are reporting cargo volume increases and due to the limited procurement in the second half of last year, are looking to lease new containers.
As a result of increased demand by the shipping lines, container prices have increased from approximately $2,300 for a 20-foot container at the end of 2011 to a current price of approximately $2,600. And it appears to us that manufacturers are looking to increase prices further over the summer months.
Premium rates on new containers have increased in line with container price increases. And we expect that trend to continue to the second quarter. With the cost of new containers increasing, premium rates on depot equipment are also improving and we have several bookings for depot equipment and we’ll improve our utilization over the coming months.
Specifically, we have seen strong bookings for depot equipment out of China as well as Northern Europe, despite the ongoing European debt crisis. According to Clarkson Research Services, exports from Europe to Asia year-on-year through February have grown 13% although Asia to Europe trade has contracted slightly during the same time period.