Maersk Line Expects Trade Rebound in 2021

The world’s biggest container carrier saw profits soar 83% in the third quarter on recovering volumes, rising freight rates

Danish shipping and logistics giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S expects that the global container market could expand by up to 5% in 2021 in a rebound from the pandemic-driven hit to trade in the first half of this year.

The parent of Maersk Line, the world’s largest container line by capacity, said Wednesday that trade volumes are growing again this fall as retailers and manufacturers restock depleted inventories and consumers who were hunkered down in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic resume spending.

“Right now we see volumes slightly above the same period from last year after falling off a cliff in the second quarter,” said Maersk Chief Executive Søren Skou. “A lot of the money that had previously gone into holiday travel and restaurant visits has gone to goods like flat screens and home improvement.”

Improving trade demand, along with stronger pricing and lower costs, helped push Maersk to a $927 million profit in the third quarter, an 83% improvement over the $506 million earnings in the same quarter a year ago.

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