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Maersk Line Reports Historic $1.3B Loss, Seeks to Cut CO2 Emissions 20% per Container

Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller Maersk AS, parent of Maersk Line, the world’s largest container ship operator, has reported its first annual loss—estimated at US$1.31 billion—since its founding in 1904. Although A.P. Moller Maersk ancillary business units such as oil and gas remained profitable last year, Maersk Line saw container shipping revenue fall 31.7% in the first nine months of last year, due to the slump in global trade. The company expects to see a slight rebound in 2010.

Although most maritime freight carriers have slashed operating costs by cutting staff and reducing ship speeds, as much as 12% of the world’s freight shipping fleet is now estimated to lay idle, in part because many carriers invested heavily in new ships during the strong economic growth of the last decade. Maersk will now focus on “backhaul” routes, shipping empty containers back to manufacturing regions, in addition to the more profitable “fronthaul” routes.

Maersk also announced that it would set a target of reducing CO2 emissions by 20% per container shipped in 2017, as compared to 2007. The company is experimenting with a 5% to 7% biodiesel blend in the Maersk Kalmar, and has voiced support for an expected carbon tax to be administered by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as a means to spur the development of more energy-efficient ships.

—Jack Rosebro

Comments

Henry Gibson

Sails are the answer to cheaper shipping. There were at least two ships built that might be profitable to operate if they were still functioning, The Otto Hahn and The Savannah. They were nuclear powered freight ships. If governments were really intent on reducing CO2 release they would subsidise the building of nuclear powered container ships. There are a few nuclear powered ships including a few ice breakers.

There are quite a few nuclear powered military ships and boats. ..HG..

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