Maersk’s Skou calls for an end to government subsidies to rival lines

The CEO of Maersk used his prime position yesterday addressing the annual Singapore Maritime Lecture in front of a host of dignitaries to call for an end to government subsidies to containerlines. Skou said state funding of rivals was creating overcapacity, and slashing prices. Rates on the key Asia-Europe tradelane have nosedived in recent months to extremely unprofitable levels.

“I don’t think any government needs to throw money at container shipping, building ships that are not needed,” Skou said.

A number of Asian lines including Cosco, Hyundai Merchant Marine and Yang Ming have all been receiving huge state backing in recent years to fund expansion, which has contributed to the overcapacity plaguing the sector. “This is a very competitive industry,” Skou said.

“Even after we have consolidated, there are still more than 10 global carriers and we fight like only siblings can fight for market share, amongst other things.”

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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