Freight rates guide Maersk to another record quarter, but clouds loom

AP Moller-Maersk’s Q3 2022 results saw revenue increase to US$18 billion (EBIT US$8.7bn) largely thanks to “significantly higher freight rates” on contract and shipment route from Asia to Europe and North America.

The group noted those numbers were partly offset by a decrease in volumes and by higher costs related to “bunker, container handling and network”.

Overall revenue increased 37%, with both EBITDA and EBIT increased around 60%.

Freight and charter rates actually declined in Q3 2022, relative to the previous quarter as the “expected normalisation” gained momentum throughout the quarter.

Global container volumes were estimated to have declined 3% year-on-year in Q3 2022, while global air cargo volumes were down 9%. Global container demand is expected to contract between -2 and -4% in 2022.

While supply-side bottlenecks “continued to pose challenges”, there were solid signs of demand slowing and Covid-19 related restrictions in China diminishing, the group said.

“With the war in Ukraine, an energy crisis in Europe, high inflation, and a looming global recession there are plenty of dark clouds on the horizon,” says Søren Skou, AP Moller-Maersk. “This weighs on consumer purchasing power which in turn impacts global transportation and logistics demand. While we expect a slow-down of the global economy to lead to a softer market in Ocean, we will continue to pursue the growth opportunities within our Logistics business. As a trusted partner, we are ready to support our customers in rethinking their supply chain needs through what is likely to be a period of a more volatile business environment.”