In an already gloomy world market, Maersk Line, the world’s leading container carrier, says it now expects even lower growth rates than previously forecast.
The Danish shipping giant, which has started laying up a number of container ships due to the economic downturn, expects growth rates to drop below the 5 or 6 percent previously stated, a revised forecast that will most likely lead to more ships being laid up and the rationalizing of certain routes. The effects of this might be seen also with an increase in the return of chartered tonnage.
“This year and the next we can’t expect much, and based on the latest numbers received, it is only going the wrong way compared to previous expectations,” said Michel Deleuran, senior vice president of Maersk Line.
“Growth expectations are more pessimistic now that they were six months ago and in terms of volume, we can expect to go below the 5 to 6 percent growth rates in 2009 that was previously mentioned. It does not look good.”
Deleuran said that the latest calculations from economists have generally meant negative adjustments.
Despite its gloomy forecast Maersk Line believes it to be less exposed than many other shipping lines, with the ten largest shipping line competitors having an order book of 35 percent of the fleet on average. By comparison Maersk Line’s order book is equal about 20 percent of its total fleet.
Deleuran said that about 60 percent of Maersk’s fleet was chartered. “We are constantly adjusting our network according to market circumstances and obviously, with the latest unforeseen developments, we are looking at options for returning tonnage.”