Maersk’s Smith Sees ‘Difficult Trading’ for Shipping Companies

Tim Smith, chief executive officer for North Asia at Maersk Line, comments on the outlook for the container-shipping market in an Oct. 12 interview in Shenzhen. Maersk Line is a unit of Copenhagen-based A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S.

On the outlook for rates:

“For the next year, it will be a difficult trading situation for shipping companies. I am not sure if it’s going to get worse, because on some routes, freight rates are already very, very low. I can’t see anything that’s going to happen in a very short term which will make it massively better.”

On cargo demand:

“We don’t see any dramatic change to the current situation, which is relatively mature growth in the U.S. and Europe. There will still be some increase in demand, but it will not be fast, and we see more growth to the emerging markets -- Africa, Middle East, South America, those places. If we look at this year, actually, demand is not that bad.”

On vessel orders:

“We want to have the most efficient tonnage, the lowest environmental footprint. The way to do that is to make sure we have a modern fleet, and we want to get the best economy of scale.

“We are responsible in our ordering. Some of our competitors are ordering much, much more relative to their size. We’ll continue to invest in new ships which make sense.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmine Wang in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at

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