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Demand surge helps Maersk post strong financial results

Demand surge helps Maersk post strong financial results
Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk

Maersk’s EBITDA jumped 44% to US$8.2bn last year with a record final quarter of the year for its logistics and terminals business following nine months of growing profitability.

Revenue over the whole year grew by 2% to US$39.7bn despite lower volumes in its ocean business and gateway terminals due to the negative impacts from COVID-19.

The demand surge in the second half of year created supply chain bottlenecks, including vessel and container shortages, and led to higher rates that contributed approximately US$1.5bn to results.

The company’s ocean business further improved its intrinsic performance by focusing on costs, agile capacity management and launching new digital offerings.

Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk, said: “2020 will forever be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic that negatively impacted our lives, jobs, businesses and the global economy.

“I am proud that we have accelerated our transformation and delivered earnings growth during every quarter of 2020, despite very different market conditions, beginning with negative COVID-19 impact in the first half to a rebound in Q4.”

The logistics and services segment saw its EBITDA rise 110% to US$454m, supported by the acquisition of US-based warehousing company Performance Team as well as improved performance in intermodal, air freight forwarding and warehousing and distribution.

Skou added: “Our customers want us to help them build more resilient supply chains and buy more end-to-end services. Consequently, our logistics business more than doubled earnings in 2020.

“We are today a profitable, growing logistics company with a broad offering of ocean and air transportation, port services and logistical capabilities, including warehousing, custom services and lead logistics.”

Gateway terminals suffered a 4% drop in revenue to US$3.2bn, owing to lower volumes resulting from the pandemic. However, EBITDA rose 8% to US$989m driven by higher revenue per move and cost reductions in several terminals.

In 2021, Maersk hopes to drive synergies between its ocean segment and logistics and services, along with terminals.

In the midst of an uncertain global trade environment, the company expects Q1 2021 to be stronger than Q4 2020, followed by a normalisation thereafter.

It has announced a full-year 2021 guidance of an underlying EBITDA in the range of US$8.5-10.5bn.

The ocean business is expected to grow in line with the global container demand at an expected 3-5% in 2021, with the highest growth seen in the first half-year.