Supply chain crisis has propelled the world’s largest shipping company to its most profitable quarter in 117 years

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  • Maersk on Tuesday announced its most profitable quarter in its 117-year history.
  • The shipping company enjoyed record shipping rates as delays in ports scolded the Supply Chain.

Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, on Tuesday released its most profitable quarter in its 117-year history.

Shipping companies have been one of the few players in the supply chain to benefit from the maritime transport crisis, as hundreds of ships wait weeks to dock and unload at key ports around the world.

“The whole system has become a huge bottleneck,” Maersk CEO Soren Skou told reporters.

The Danish company more than quadrupled its operating profits to $ 5.9 billion in the third quarter. The high profits were in part due to bottlenecks at key ports, as well as the surge in demand which led to record containerized freight rates. Over the past year, the cost of shipping a 20-foot container from Asia to the United States has climbed to over $ 20,000, according to the Drewry World Container Index.

Skou told the Financial Times the company sees no end to the shipping crisis.

“The ports are not working as well as they should be, so we cannot unload the containers as fast as we would like,” Skou said. “It’s hard to see exactly when the situation will improve. Our customers are facing very high customer demand and on top of that their stocks are very low. ”

Skou told reporters that the biggest obstacle to the movement of goods was the shortage of labor, especially the lack of truck drivers. The company said it has increased capacity throughout the year, but many of its ships are stranded outside ports.

“The problem is not really the lack of vessel capacity,” Skou told Bloomberg TV, adding that more than 300 vessels were waiting outside ports. “The problem is that the capacity of the ships is being used while waiting outside the ports, and we need to address the labor issue in the ports so that the supply chains are better.”

As more companies look for ways to avoid port delays, Maersk said it is also spending more than $ 1 billion to expand its air cargo options. The shipping company purchases the freight forwarder Senator International, as well as the purchase and lease of five new aircraft in addition to the 15 it already operates.

The shipping company said it expects its fourth quarter to be just as profitable, as shipping rates and consumer demand show no signs of relapsing anytime soon. Maersk expects to post gross profit of between $ 6 billion and $ 7 billion in the next quarter.


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