Maersk Line NZ holds to 3,000-TEUers although shipper calls for mega vessels

By Finance

MAERSK, the largest container shipping company in the world, is finding work for smaller ships in the New Zealand trade, although local demands for larger vessels that would secure more capacity and lower rates.
But Maersk that owns 271 vessels and charters 309, is saying that 3,000-TEU vessels are best for New Zealand. “We consider we have a quite better service with the smaller vessels. It is working really well,” Thomas Knudsen, CEO of Maersk Line’s Asia Pacific region.
Yet the New Zealand Shippers’ Council wants New Zealand to get ready for 7,000-TEU vessels – and the lower end of the big scale that runs up to 16,000-TEU today – and join a global trend to bigger vessels.
But the biggest vessels that visit New Zealand are 4,500-TEU and ports would have to invest in dredging and new equipment to handle anything bigger than that one.
Maersk Line earned US $241 per container internationally in 3rd-quarter results released last week, a turnaround from a US $124 loss per box a year earlier, but the company says it is still not making an adequate return on our capital.
Maersk Line has been reducing capacity, especially among Asia and Europe, and raising charges where feasible.
Mr Knudsen told an average return on its capital for the container shipping industry during the last 5 to 7 years was 1% and not enough to warrant investment in assets.
“We clearly would like to get to that level of about ten per cent return on investment. And, I consider our competitors in the industry should look at that too. I know it isn't necessarily pleasant for our clients, but a lot of them understand where we are going. It’s a balance. We just have to find a way where both parties may make money on what we do,” he stated.