Maersk misjudged container-shipping demand

Søren Skou, the chief executive of Maersk Line, said the Danish group misjudged the strength in demand for container shipping, which has proved far more sluggish than it expected when it ordered billions of dollars' worth of new vessels two years ago.


CMA CGM container shipping Maersk Mediterranean Shipping Co P3 alliance Søren Skou


The chief executive of Danish shipping group Maersk Line said recently that the company misjudged the strength in demand for container shipping, which has proved far more sluggish than it expected when it ordered billions of dollars’ worth of new vessels two years ago.

The world’s biggest container shipper is now counting on the planned P3 cargo-sharing alliance with European rivals CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co. to cut costs and reduce the number of their ships plying major routes between Europe and Asia to 250 from 300, Soren Skou said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Maersk Line spent US$3.7 billion on an order for 20 of the world’s biggest container ships. The so-called Triple-Es, all of which will be deployed on the Asia-to-Europe trade route, can carry 18,000 containers, some 11 per cent more than the second-largest vessels. Maersk says they also consume 35 per cent less fuel on average than other ships in the company’s lineup.

 “It’s pretty clear that when we look back to early part of 2011 when these ships were ordered, ours and everybody else’s view on growth was somewhat different than what it turned out to be and therefore the market will not be as quite as big in 2015 as we thought it to be,” Skou said.