Containers give Maersk a Q3 boost


Maersk’s container line operations in the third quarter of this year hit profits of almost US$500 million, compared with a loss of almost $300 million in the same period of 2011.

Denmark-based AP Møller Maersk reported today that the “better than expected” improvement at Maersk Line had offset Q3 profit dips elsewhere in the group.

It reported revenues of $14.6 billion for the period, compared with $15.3 billion in 2011, a 5% year-on-year dip. Group pre-tax profit was up 9% to almost $2 billion compared with $1.8 billion a year ago.

Maersk Line Q3 profit was $498 million, compared with a Q3 2011 loss of $289 million, with an average rate increase of 5.7%, to $3,022 per feu.

It said head haul volumes on the Asia-Europe trade had fallen by 15%, while average unit costs dropped by 6%, due to decreased bunker consumption per feu and its work on network optimisation. 

The group’s port operations division, APM Terminals, saw its profits drop from $173 million to $160 million, year on year, although volumes rose 4% to 9 million teu. 

Container throughput increased by 7% compared with the same period in 2011.

AP Møller Maersk said it expected a full-year result of $3.7 billion ($3.4bn in 2011), with “a modest positive result from Maersk Line based on higher average rates in the second half of the year”. 

It added that global demand for seaborne containers was expected to show a 3% increase for 2012, with declining inbound European volumes.

A statement said: “We delivered a good result for the quarter, considering the challenging economic environment. Thanks to our rate initiatives and cost reductions, Maersk Line is back in black figures, year-to-date.”

Maersk Line also announced rate increases, especially for reefer containers, from January 2013.

“Maersk Line has done what it set out to do when we entered the second quarter and will continue their efforts to secure rates at a level where we can achieve a fair return on our investments,” said CEO Nils Andersen.