Sustainable profits for box shipping a way off: Maersk

Singapore: Container shipping has a way to go before it can return to sustainable profitable ways, and the industry must forget the old strategy of chasing high utlisation rates at all costs, says the chief executive of Maersk Line in Asia Pacific, Thomas Knudsen, in an exclusive interview with SeaShip News.

“The industry is still not at a long-term sustainable profit level and there is still some way to go,” Knudsen said.
In a swipe to peers within the industry, Knudsen said: “The industry as a whole has to get used to not expecting utilization to be in the 90s all the time. Chasing high utilization at any cost is and will not be sustainable.”

Maersk Line’s ongoing focus is its ‘Back to Black’ programme, and the results are paying off. The line has looked at more rate initiatives, including for reefer cargo, and also on cost reductions and network optimisation. Super slow steaming has helped Maersk reduce the cost of each container shipped by 6% in the latest quarter over the same period of 2011.
Knudsen was, however, cautious about a recovery for the industry.

“The global economy will likely remain challenging for 2013. China’s economy seems to be stabilising and recovering from the slow-down. We are expecting slight positive growth in the Asia-Europe trade next year,” he concluded. [16/11/12]

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