Skou still not satisfied despite record Q1 results

Copenhagen: Maersk Line continues to power ahead from most of its rivals, reporting today the its best ever first quarter results, notching a net profit of $714m, a 57.1% improvement over the same period last year. Nevertheless, the boss of the containerline giant warned further cost cutting was necessary, while an analyst suggested “trouble is lurking beneath the surface”.

“I am very satisfied with our reported Q1 result. It is the best Q1 result ever,” commented Søren Skou, the ceo of Maersk Line. “However, we are not satisfied with the fact that our volumes dropped and our unit costs increased. We will regain lost ground and do more to adjust capacity to demand,” he added.

Rates came under pressure in the first quarter, decreasing 5.1% to $2,493.

Maersk Line will take out capacity in the Asia – Mediterranean and West Africa trades, the line saying its capacity on the two tradelanes has grown more than demand. The line will also consider further blanking of services in order to improve vessel utilisation and save costs.

“Maersk Line’s strategy has been and remains to grow with the market,” the line said in a release, outlining recent new ship orders.

“The first quarter of 2015 illustrates very well that our industry is more competitive than ever with an increasing supply/demand gap. This quarter we were helped by the oil price and exchange rate. But we cannot always rely on external factors to achieve good results. We must therefore remain focused on doing even more on our cost leadership and continue to improve and deliver the products our customers demand,” concluded Skou.

Commenting on the results, SeaIntel Consulting’s Lars Jensen, himself a former Maersk employee, told Splash: “It is a great result, but trouble is lurking beneath the surface as vessel utilisation declines, in turn having a detrimental impact on unit costs.”


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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