Soeren Skou, CEO Maersk

FILE PHOTO: Soeren Skou, CEO of AP Moeller - Maersk A/S, holds a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, August 19, 2020. Ritzau Scanpix/Martin Sylvest via REUTERS

Maersk CEO Expects Biden Presidency to Smooth Trade Relations

Bloomberg
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November 18, 2020

By Christian Wienberg (Bloomberg) —

The chief executive officer of the world’s biggest container shipping company says trade relations between Europe and the U.S. will probably become more “collaborative” under the presidency of Joe Biden.

Soren Skou, the CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, said he doesn’t expect the global trade outlook to change fundamentally, regardless of who’s in the White House.

Skou has in the past criticized Donald Trump, arguing that global trade relations deteriorated during his presidency.

Copenhagen-based Maersk, which transports roughly a fifth of the world’s containers, raised its guidance for a second time in as many months after volumes increased and freight rates rose. The company says its finances are strong enough to make room for a $1.6 billion share buyback program, as well as “bolt-on” acquisitions.

Skou says much of the extra business Maersk won in recent quarters resulted from changes in consumer behavior during the pandemic.

“We are benefiting from the fact that a lot of the money that consumers would have been spending on holiday travel and restaurant visits and events is now being spent on furniture, flat screens and sneakers and stuff that we can transport,” Skou said.

Asked how he thinks a Biden presidency will affect relations between China and the U.S., Skou said, “I actually don’t think we’ll see much change. Maybe in terms of form, but not actually what the policy is.”

Maersk bases its long-term growth predictions on a number that’s “very close to global GDP, so 3% to 4%,” Skou said. “To see higher growth, we would need to see more trade liberalization than what is currently going on.”

–With assistance from Brendan Murray.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P
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