ContainersEuropeFinance and Insurance

Maersk remains the only investment-grade credit in the container shipping space

According to Drewry analysis, which includes a forecast for 2023, in just three years, the container shipping industry will have made as much money as the entire previous six decades.

Nevertheless, container shipping’s credit rating remains poor despite the record earnings, something of potential alarm as the box market now shows multiple signs of weakening.

Maersk remains the only investment-grade credit in the container shipping space, Alphaliner reports, citing the latest upgrades from Moody’s ratings agency.

“Despite the rating upgrades received during the pandemic, the container shipping sector remains a speculative credit risk,” Alphaliner warned in its latest weekly report with only Maersk deemed to have moderate credit risk, albeit with certain speculative characteristics.

Further improvements to container ratings will now depend on the extent of shareholder payouts, earning and cash flow to debt ratios, and long-term EBIT margins, Alphaliner explained.

The seven container credits covered by Moody’s, which include tonnage providers, showed significant movement over the past six months as the chart below shows.

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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