The world’s biggest shipping company, Denmark’s AP Moller-Maersk, has reported a sharp rise in earnings amid strong worldwide demand for shipments of goods as the economy bounces back from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Copenhagen-based company said revenue grew nearly 68% in the third quarter, to a record-high 16.6 billion US dollars (£12.2 billion), up from 9.9 billion US dollars (£7.3 billion) in the same three-month period last year.
It reported profits of 5.5 billion US dollars (£4 billion), up from 947 million US dollars (£694 million) in the same period last year.
Chief executive Soren Skou said: “In the ongoing exceptional market situation, with high demand in the US and global disruptions to the supply chains, we continued to increase capacity and expand our offerings to keep cargo moving for our customers.”
The urgent need for more shipping capacity comes amid soaring consumer demand for everything from cars to furniture and labour shortages in the rebounding economy, leading to major backups at ports and higher prices. The supply chain issues have caused a shortage of key equipment – shipping containers.
In a statement, Maersk said its key ocean business was now “expected to grow below the global container demand” amid uncertainty around the supply chain logjams.
The company also announced its intention to acquire Senator International, a global freight forwarding company with strong air freight offerings.
And to expand its own air network, Maersk was adding aircraft to its operations, with three leased cargo planes to be operational from 2022 and two Boeing aircraft to be deployed by 2024.