Maersk Line said a 30 percent hike in its reefer container freight rates, which provoked a storm of protest from shippers, has “largely been accepted” by the market.
The carrier “ might lose some market share” following the $1,500 per 40-foot container general rate increase that took effect on Jan. 1, according to Nils Andersen, chief executive of Maersk Line parent A.P. Moller-Maersk.
Maersk is currently negotiating with its customers, and it is “too early to give a further feel,” Andersen said during a presentation of A.P. Moller-Maersk’s annual report.
The world’s biggest carrier said its reefer traffic totaled around 1.6 million 20-foot-equivalents units in 2012.
The carrier said the sizable hike, which it announced in September to give the industry ample time to adjust, was necessary because rates have risen less than inflation for the past seven years and were not producing a return on the large capital investment in new equipment.
Maersk will increase its net profit by $300 million in 2013 and subsequent years if its achieves 50 percent of the $1,500 rate increase, according to Nordea, a Swedish bank.
Rival carriers, including second-ranked Mediterranean Shipping, followed Maersk’s rate hike, increasing the Danish carrier’s chances of pushing through its increase.
Maersk Container Industry, A.P. Moller-Maersk’s container manufacturer, produced 36,000 reefer containers and 220,000 dry containers in 2012.
The company, which booked $60 million profit on $1.1 billion of sales last year, down from $69 million and $1.2 billion in 2011, will significantly increase its reefer production when a new $170 million factory in Chile comes on stream by the end of 2013.