Container shipping locked in a ‘significant bottleneck’ as demand surges back



Elliot Smith | CNBC

Container shipping firms are locked in a “significant bottleneck” as resurgent global demand stretches capacity and drives up freight rates, Maersk CEO Soren Skou told CNBC Wednesday.

Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping firm, missed its own fourth-quarter profit expectations Wednesday and posted a cautiously optimistic outlook for 2021 after an “exceptional while challenging quarter.”

Skou explained that after a 15% dip in Maersk’s volumes in the second quarter of 2020, the sharp rebound toward the end of the year, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, saw global trade return to a 5% year-on-year increase.

“That has caused a significant bottleneck in terms of lack of capacity and lack of containers, which have driven freight rates higher,” Skou said.

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