Container line loses more money in first three months than in the whole of 2011.
Maersk Line losses in Q1 this year totalled almost $600 million, more than the world′s biggest container line lost in the whole of 2011, it was revealed today.
The line′s poor result wiped out underlying first-quarter profits for Denmarks APMM-Maersk group, which released its figures this morning.
APMM′s core container shipping operation posted a $599 million net operating loss after tax, on revenue up 7％ to $6.3 billion.
This compares with a $424 million profit in Q1 2011. But as the year went on, rates on the main tradelanes plunged and Maersk Line ended the year with a loss of $537 million.
Rates earned per container in Q1 on the key Asia to Europe route “ which accounted for 37％ of the line′s volumes “ were down 21％ on Q1 2011, although volumes rose 22％. Rates on Latin American services fell 8％ on volumes up 23％, while on the transpacific, rates fell 5％ on volumes up 21％.
The line has cut capacity on the Asia to Europe trades by around 9％ since the start of the year, and imposed general rate increases that have been almost fully accepted, said the company.
Maersk said it expected a negative up to neutral result in 2012, based on the assumption that its rate restoration programme will continue.
It said:The outlook is very sensitive towards changes in the market balance. Global demand for seaborne containers is expected to increase by 4-6％ in 2012, with lower increases on the Asia-Europe trades, but higher increases on the north-south trades.
Overall, the APMM group reported net profits up 1％ at $1.18 billion on revenue down 1％ to $14.3 billion, compared with the same quarter of 2011.
However, the profit was the result of a $900 million exceptional gain after settlement of a tax dispute in Algeria and $324 million in investment gains.