Liner shipping margins ‘not acceptable’, says Maersk chief

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The liner shipping industry’s margins are not acceptable, Maersk’s new chief executive officer Soren Skou has warned.

Skou said that rates will have to rise during 2012 to address inadequate margins.  He  warned that, at the moment, the industry is not self sustaining, and is destroying shareholder value.

Over-capacity, low demand and rising costs meant that the company was effectively being paid less for a better service.

“It cannot continue,” said Skou. “Bunker fuel is the single biggest cost item that we have… for that reason alone freight rates will have to come up.”

Maersk is shifting its focus to profitability for 2012, having won market share in 2011 taking it to a record high of 15.5 per cent. It has no investment plans for Maersk Line in 2012, and is not declaring its option for ten more triple E ships.

Skou became chief executive of Maersk’s liner business in January, having previously been chief executive of Maersk tankers from 2001.

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