Danish shipping company Maersk Line, a division of the A.P.Moller - Maersk Group, sees light ahead on the container shipping market and is maintaining its fleet of 500 vessels despite competitors cutting their fleets in response to excess capacity on the market, reports financial daily newspaper Børsen.
Japan's Nippon Yusen Kaisha has just announced that it will half the fleet of its own container vessels to reduce costs and improve profitability. But Maersk Line is embarking on a different strategy. Morten Engelstoft, operations director of the shipping company told Børsen:
"We have no immediate plans to reduce the number of our own vessels. On the contrary, we believe that our fleet henceforward will be larger than today because we expect growth in the market. There is still a significant uncertainty, but we believe in a growth of 3-5% in the number of transported containers in 2010 compared to a 10% drop last year."
Maersk Line's fleet currently comprises 254 of its own vessels and 244 that are chartered, a balance the company is likely to maintain in the future, states Engelstoft.
"Today we own about half of our vessels and thus have a good deal of flexibility so we can return chartered vessels when it is necessary. We have done that continuously as the charter agreements expire, but we also charter new vessels depending on our needs, and that happens today at clearly lower prices than previously."
In the last year, Maersk Line's share of the global container shipping market has slightly decreased so it currently has about 15%, a figure the shipping company intends to keep.