In a video interview Group CEO of AP Møller-Maersk Nils S. Andersen comments on the 2015 full year result, low oil and freight rates, and the challenges and opportunities for the Maersk Group in these difficult markets.
He has warned that conditions for global trade are even worse than they were during the height of the 2008 financial crisis.
Maersk’s outlook for its container line this year is a result “significantly below” 2015, based on weak global growth forecasts of between 1% and 3%.
Andersen said his company was facing conditions significantly worse than the financial crisis after it plunged to a large net loss as global trade growth ground to a halt last year.
With the exception of North America, rates have plummeted on all of Maersk Line's routes, and this applies especially to the carrier's key services to and from Europe and Latin America.
“We call it the perfect storm for the group,” he said, describing the twin impact of plunging oil prices and container freight rates at all-time lows.
Maersk Line would maintain a flexible approach to access to tonnage, focusing on owned vessels and short-term charters. Should capacity need to be reduced, vessels on short-term charter could be redelivered to owners and old vessels owned by the company could be sold for scrap. Maersk Line plans to do both in the course of 2016.
The state of the global shipping industry is pretty sorry, thanks to a cocktail of rock-bottom commodity prices, crazy market volatility across the world, and a slowdown in the Chinese economy.
Despite this, capacity in the container shipping industry increased 8 per cent in 2015 and Maersk, which still has 27 new ships on order, has cancelled its options to buy any more.
Despite what looks like a grim situation for Maersk, and global shipping in general, Andersen struck a positive tone with the FT, saying: "We are very strongly placed not only to get through this period but benefit from it. We are quite enthusiastic about it."