Skou hits out at EU competition laws

European competition laws are holding the continent’s top conglomerates back from becoming global champions, unable to compete with American and Chinese rivals, the head of Maersk, Soren Skou, has said in an interview with local Danish newspaper, Finans.

“Is it really a good idea that we don’t allow the creation of a European global champion? In doing so, we risk being outperformed by a Chinese company, over which the European Union has no influence,” Skou said in the interview.

Splash readers voted in a 2018 poll that it was inevitable that Cosco, China’s state-backed top maritime conglomerate, would overhaul Maersk to become the world’s top containerline within a decade. Cosco currently lies in third place in the Alphaliner global liner rankings, some 1.25m slots behind industry leader Maersk.

Skou is a member of the European Round Table for Industry (ERT), a lobby group of 55 CEOs and chairs of large European companies. Last month, the group urged the EU to develop a new strategy to enhance global competitiveness.

“Competition policy should not be just about protecting consumers. That is super important, but if it does not allow us to build the right European companies that can compete globally, it could become a huge problem for the EU in the long run,” Skou said in the interview, adding: “We cannot allow the United States and China to win the global technology race, while we spend our time discussing issues that belong to industries of the last century.”

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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