Maersk Line books $1.5bn profit in 2013, despite lower rates

AP Moller Maersk reported a 6% slide in group profits to $3.77bn in 2013, but its container line Maersk Line improved profitability in a tough market.

The Danish shipping and energy giant reported a profit of $3.77bn in 2013 compared to $4.04bn a year earlier. However, the 2012 result benefited from the one-off positive impact of Maersk Oil’s $899m settlement of an Alergian tax dispute.

Revenues were also 4% lower at $47.39bn in 2013 compared to $49.49 in the previous year.

“Maersk Line strengthened profitability despite challenging shipping markets and both APM Terminals and Maersk Drilling had their best result to date,” said Nils Andersen, group ceo of AP Moller Maersk.

Maersk Line made a profit of $1.5bn compared to $461m a year earlier with the improvement credited to vessel network efficiencies resulting in lower units cost and a lower bunker price. This is despite average freight rates decreasing by 7.2% to $2,674 per feu compared to $2,881 per feu in 2012. Bunker consumption was reduced by 12.1%.

APM Terminals also reported an increased profit of $770m in 2013 compared to $701m in the previous year. The number of containers handled increased by 3% to 36.3m teu.

A full utilisation of its rig fleet drove Maersk Drilling to a historic high result of $528m compared to $347m in 2012. During 2013 Maersk Drilling secured contracts for six out of eight newbuildings to be delivered in 2014 – 2016.

Maersk Tankers, however, booked annual loss of $317m, almost the same as the $315m loss in 2012. The result was impacted by impairment losses and provisions, as well as restructuring costs.