Shipper Maersk reports most profitable year, warns of drop

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The world’s biggest shipper, Denmark’s A.P. Moeller-Maersk, said Wednesday that 2022 was its most profitable year in “the history of the company” but warned that a plunge in container volumes and freight rates would lead to a drop in earnings this year.

Full-year revenue increased by 32%, to $81.5 billion from $61.8 billion in 2021. In the last three months of the year, revenue of $17.8 billion dropped from $18.5 billion in the same period in 2021.

Profits before taxes for 2022 came in at $30.2 billion, up from $18.7 billion in 2021. In the fourth quarter, they landed at $5.3 billion, down from $6.3 billion in the fourth quarter a year earlier.

Last year “was remarkable in more than one way,” Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc said. “While we report the best financial result in the history of the company, we have also taken the partnerships with our customers to a new level by supporting their supply chains end to end during highly disruptive times.”

The Copenhagen-based company said the economic outlook shifted during 2022 and “after a strong start to the year, new shocks weighed on economic activity and supply chains.”

High inflation, inventory build and a rebalancing toward spending on services reduced demand for goods, bringing global trade back to pre-pandemic levels,” Maersk said.

This year, economic and trade growth “are expected to be weak. Demand for consumer goods is slowing, and the inventory correction is weighing on the near-term outlook," the shipping company said.

It expected a range of 2.5% contraction to 0.5% expansion in the global ocean container market.

"As we enter a year with challenging macro-outlook and new types of uncertainties for our customers, we are determined to speed up our business transformation and increase our operational excellence to seize the unique opportunities in front of us,” Clerc said.

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