“We’ve been on a real roller-coaster,” says Maersk Line’s North Asia Chief Executive Officer, Tim Smith, but he is “hopeful that the good strong shipments we’ve seen in December will continue a little bit into the New Year.”
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Smith reflects on 2012 being quite a volatile year.
“The year started really badly with low demand, and freight rates were really low. But it did improve during the course of the year,” he said, and currently he is actually seing pickup in the Asia-Europe trade.
The biggest challenge for the entire industry is overcapacity, according to Smith.
“In these volatile markets we have seen a lot more capacity coming into the market the last couple of years than is needed by the lower levels of demand,” he said.
Last year that overcapacity was managed tolerably well by taking out ships, scrapping them, slowing ships down or idling them for shorter or longer periods.
“We managed to balance supply and demand,” said Smith, “and that is the game we need to play again in 2013.”
2012, according to Smith, was “a bit of a roller-coaster for us and for our customers.”
He said: “What we would like to do is to get into a more sustainable basis in 2013.
“We should never be too confident in these challenging times, but it’s certainly looking more optimistic than it has been for a little while.”
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