maersk container

Maersk Line Shares are Lifted as Container Shippers Dare to Sneak Rates Higher

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March 15, 2013

Image: AP Moller-Maersk

(Bloomberg) — A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, owner of the world’s largest container line, rose the most in 10 days in Copenhagen trading after freight rates out of China jumped.

Maersk’s B shares rose as much as 1.7 percent, the most since March 5. The stock gained 1 percent to 46,520 kroner at 9:45 a.m. local time, with trading volume at 22 percent of the three-month daily average. The gain outpaced a 0.1 percent increase in the Nasdaq OMX Copenhagen 20 index.

Container companies, including Copenhagen-based Maersk Line, have said they plan to raise rates starting today in an effort to combat price declines caused by overcapacity. The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, a measure of box rates out of China, rose 13 percent today, the most in a year and the first advance in two months.

“It seems that container lines have enjoyed initial success in their efforts to boost rates, but it was also needed,” Jacob Pedersen, an analyst at Sydbank A/S, said by phone. “It will be interesting to see if rates go up again next week as some of the announced increases may not have filtered through yet in today’s SCFI.”

Today’s increase is “more or less in line with what I expected,” Pedersen said. The analyst, who’s based in the Danish city of Aabenraa, has a buy recommendation on Maersk shares.

Maersk Line cut capacity on the Asia/Europe route — its biggest — by about 21 percent last year amid a slowdown in demand. The shipping line said Feb. 22 that profit this year will be higher than the $461 million reached in 2012 as the company cuts costs and as growth in global container demand accelerates.

– Christian Wienberg, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.

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