Sea freight rates to fall long term

Erosion of freight rates in the global container shipping trades is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, Maersk Line chief executive Søren Skou is predicting, leaving ocean carriers to find other ways of returning to profitability.

Maersk Line is one of the few in the industry to have produced respectable second quarter results, helped by unexpectedly good volumes in the Asia-Europe trades, which helped to stabilise average freight rates.

But Maersk Line’s net operating profit of $547m and annualised return on invested capital of 10.8% was far more a reflection of cost-cutting initiatives than higher revenue,