World's biggest shipper remains wary of pandemic

FILE - In this May 3, 2020, file photo, containers are loaded on a ship at the Saigon port in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. China and 14 other countries have agreed to set up the worlds largest trading bloc, encompassing nearly a third of all economic activity, in a deal many in Asia are hoping will help hasten a recovery from the shocks of the pandemic. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, is to be signed virtually on Sunday, Nov. 15, on the sidelines of the annual summit of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh, File) (Hau Dinh, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

COPENHAGEN – The world’s biggest shipping company, Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, said Wednesday that global container volumes increased by around 1% in the third quarter, a faster rebound than expected earlier in the year.

However, global demand for containers is expected to contract by 4-5% this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said its third quarter revenue decreased by 1.4% to $9.9billion while its profit rose to $947 million from $520 million during the same period a year earlier.

CEO Soeren Skou said that “despite COVID-19 negatively affecting activities in most of our businesses, our disciplined execution of the strategy led to solid earnings and cash flow growth in Q3.”

He said that the group had managed to simplify the organization of its shipping unit and had closed the acquisition of KGH Customs Services, a Sweden-based specialist in trade and customs management services in Europe.

In a statement, the group said it looked “confidently past the extraordinary 2020."

"However we remain well aware of the high level of uncertainty the pandemic and associated lock downs continue to pose in the coming quarters,” the company said.

A.P. Moller-Maersk is based in Copenhagen, operates in 130 countries and employs roughly 80,000 people.