Wednesday, May 21, 2014

P3 Alliance Now Aims to be Shipping Freight Containers by the Autumn

Delay Whilst More Regulatory Approvals Awaited as Maersk Q1 Figures Released
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – On the same day that Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping group, releases its first quarter results, the members of the P3 alliance; Maersk, CMA CGM and MSC, have decided to delay the start of operations of the container shipping network. Originally planned to commence moving freight in mid-2014, sailings under the P3 network are now scheduled to start in autumn 2014 as the agreement is expected to get more regulatory approvals from other jurisdictions by then. Maersk Chief Executive Nils Smedegaard Andersen said:

“We did expect to get the European and China approval before or around the middle of the year and we still expect that, but there are a number of jurisdictions, smaller jurisdictions, that we would like to have in place before we put the network in place, and they may take a bit longer.”

The P3 Alliance was given regulatory approval in the US by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in March, authorising the three largest shipping lines to share vessel and engage in related cooperative operating activities in the trades between the US and Asia, North Europe, and the Mediterranean.

The Maersk Group announced that it delivered a profit of $1.2 billion, up from the $790 million from the same period last year, with increased profit achieved across most businesses, in particular improvements in figures from Maersk Line and APM Terminals. The Group’s revenue increased by 0.9%, in part impacted by higher container volumes and higher oil entitlement production, partly offset by lower average container freight rates and lower average oil price.

Maersk Line delivered a profit of $454 million, an improvement of $250 million compared to Q1 2013, despite lower average freight rates. The improvement was driven by higher volumes and lower unit costs through the continuous focus on operational cost savings mainly from vessel network efficiencies and improved vessel utilisation, supported by lower bunker price.

The Group still expects a result for 2014 significantly above the 2013 result of $3.8 billion profit, predominantly impacted by the $2.8 billion gain from the sale of Dansk Supermarked Group. The underlying result is now expected to be around $4 billion ($3.6 billion) when excluding discontinued operations, impairment losses and divestment gains.