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AP Moller-Maersk’s first quarterly revenue growth since 2014 fails to mask ‘troublesome’ boxline problems

Maersk’s first quarterly revenue growth since 2014 today failed to mask what analysts are describing as “troublesome aspects” relating to its world-leading containerline.

AP Moller-Maersk reported its Q1 results today, notching up its first quarterly sales growth since the third quarter of 2014.

Revenues at Maersk increased by 5% to $9bn in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, however Maersk Line continued to lose money, citing higher bunker bills. The group as a whole made an underlying profit of $201m, something Soren Skou, the group CEO of the giant Danish conglomerate, described as unsatisfactory.

“Whilst we cannot be satisfied with the overall profitability in the first quarter, the result is as expected and we reiterate our guidance for the year for the group,” Skou said.

The Maersk CEO added that Maersk Line remains on track to nail a $1bn profit for the full year, despite posting an $80m loss in the first quarter.

Delving into the results, Lars Jensen, founder of Seaintelligence Consulting and a regular Splash contributor, described some “troublesome aspects” in relation to Maersk Line’s first quarter results.

In a post on LinkedIn, Jensen, a former Maersk employee, suggested the world’s top containerline was failing to improve its vessel utilisation statistics.

“From the numbers presented, Maersk Line appears to have two key challenges: Improving the cargo mix and getting the higher bunker prices reflected in the freight rates. Both aspects which are easier said than done,” Jensen noted.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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