| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Maersk triples quarterly profit despite lower container volumes

A.P. Moller-Maersk, a shipping company, said on Tuesday that record-high freight rates boosted quarterly earnings despite lower container volumes due to port congestion.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a shortage of container ships and port bottlenecks at a time of high consumer spending, driving freight transport costs to record highs.

Maersk, which handles one in every five containers shipped globally, said its main Ocean business is now expected to grow at a lower rate than global container demand, which is expected to be 7-9 percent in 2021, compared to previous guidance of 6-8 percent.

Despite adding more ocean shipping capacity, the Danish company said container volumes were down 4% in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2019 and slightly lower than last year.

“Decreasing volumes were driven by exports out of Asia due to equipment shortages and congestion,” Maersk said in a statement.

Its shares, which are up about 40% year to date, rose 1% in early trading.


Maersk also announced on Tuesday that it will purchase freight-forwarder Senator International, whose primary business is air freight, as well as two Boeing aircraft for an estimated $644 million.

Maersk, which derives two-thirds of its revenue from ocean shipping, plans to expand its services to include more air and land-based freight, with the goal of providing door-to-door logistical solutions to clients such as Walmart and Puma.

The company’s ongoing transformation from a container shipping company to an integrated logistics company has been accelerated by strong financial results during the pandemic.

It said final third-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) tripled to $6.9 billion, up from a preliminary figure of close to $7 billion issued on Sept. 16, when the company also raised its forecasts for 2021.

  • Reuters