Maersk cuts jobs as shipping demand falls

One of the world’s largest shipping firms is to cut 3,500 more jobs due to lower freight rates and demand.


AP Moller-Maersk already cut 6,500 roles earlier this year as part of “rigorous cost containment measures” but said more redundancies were needed.


The firm, which transports goods for major retailers such as Nike, said profits had plunged by 92% in its most recent quarterly results.


It said “worsening” prices for shipping by sea required further job cuts.


The cost of shipping goods soared in the first year of Covid when lockdowns lifted and businesses began to resume trading, increasing their orders for stock.


Such high demand led to congestion and logistical problems at UK ports. There was also a shortage of shipping containers in Asia, which helped drive up inflation.


More recently, however, high inflation and rising interest rates have curbed spending and dampened demand.


Maersk previously warned in August of a steeper decline in global demand for shipping containers by sea this year.


The Danish company said in a trading update on Friday that there had been “significant pressure on rates” in the past few months.


“Our industry is facing a new normal with subdued demand, prices back in line with historical levels and inflationary pressure on our cost base,” said Maersk chief executive Vincent Clerc.


“Since the summer, we have seen overcapacity across most regions triggering price drops and no noticeable uptick in ship recycling or idling.”


The job losses will reduce Maersk’s global workforce to below 100,000. Some 2,500 of the latest 3,500 roles will be cut in the coming months, with the rest in 2024.


It estimates that the redundancies will save the business £600m next year, but has not revealed the locations of the cuts or the types of roles going.


The company, which controls about one-sixth of global container trade, has already decreased its staff to about 103,500 from 110,000 earlier this year.

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