The current problems with container freight are likely to persist throughout the year. These include container shortages in Asia, delays and more demand for containers than supply on some routes. Danish shipping company A.P. Møller-Maersk has expressed this expectation. That company had an “exceptionally strong” first quarter due to high demand.
‘The strong demand led to congestion, but also to a lack of capacity, which caused container shipping rates to rise to record levels,’ said Maersk CEO Søren Skou. As a result, the Danish shipping company saw its turnover rise by almost a third to 12.9 billion dollars. Profits exploded from 209 million dollars in the first three months of last year to 2.7 billion dollars in the latest period.
The fact that the corona pandemic was controlled fairly quickly, especially in China, meant that factories in that country could produce in full, while factories in other regions could not. This led to container shortages in China, because fewer goods were transported back to the Asian country. In contrast, regions such as Europe and the United States have container surpluses.
Suez Canal blockage
The situation around the Suez Canal is also still causing delays. At the end of March, the canal was blocked for about a week because the container ship Ever Given ran aground. Although the delays around the canal have been resolved, there is still a lot of congestion in the ports.
Last week, Maersk already raised its revenue and profit forecast because of the market conditions.