Shipping Giant’s Profits Rise Five-Fold Amid Supply Chain Bottlenecks

Danish shipping firm Maersk has reported record pre-tax profits of $5.9bn for the July to September period, according to the BBC. This represents a five-fold increase compared to the same time last year, and a 68% jump in revenue. The cargo freight firm handles nearly 20% of the world’s shipping containers, making it the largest shipping company in the world.

As the world struggles with a global logjam in the supply chain, shipping companies have been able to charge record prices. The Japanese freight line Ocean Network Express has also reported huge net profits of $4.2bn for the last quarter, representing an eight-fold increase year on year.

The extra consumer demand which is putting a strain on the system shows no sign of slowing down as we approach the Christmas period. Congestion at ports means that delivery times are longer, and there is a shortage of available shipping containers. There are currently around 300 cargo vessels queuing outside ports in the US, China, and Europe.

In the UK and some parts of Europe, there are also not enough HGVs available to distribute the freight, due to the ongoing shortage of drivers. The Chief Executive of Maersk, Soren Skou, said that his firm was attempting to tackle the backlog by chartering extra ships, increasing port operating hours, and opening more warehouses.

Despite Mr Skou telling the BBC that Christmas trade will be unaffected by delays, other sources remain cautious. Online giant Amazon has announced that it is spending ‘several billion dollars’ to deal with the supply chain issue in the run up to Christmas. 

Apple boss Tim Cook has also admitted the firm is losing sales, and he expects the problems to persist over the festive period. His company have been hit particularly hard by the shortage of semiconductor chips, which it uses for many of its products.

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