Maersk buoys Chi­nese part­ners

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By ZHONGNANin Shang­hai zhong­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Maersk Line, the world’s big­gest con­tainer ship­ping com­pany by ca­pac­ity and goods vol­ume, will pro­vide trans­port ser­vices for its Chi­nese part­ners and be­come a co-in­vestor in their projects along the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive over the next decade.

Many projects have al­ready ma­te­ri­al­ized. APM Ter­mi­nals, the Dan­ish group’s ter­mi­nal arm, part­nered with China COSCOShip­ping Ports Ltd and Qing­dao Port In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Co in Oc­to­ber to in­vest in the Vado Reefer Ter­mi­nal, and the newdeep­wa­ter con­tainer ter­mi­nal un­der con­struc­tion in Vado, Italy. It will be­come op­er­a­tional in 2018.

APM Ter­mi­nals is also work­ing with State-owned China Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Con­struc­tion Co, one of the largest in­fra­struc­ture ser­vice providers by rev­enue, to build a new port in Tema, Ghana. Maersk has ap­pointed a CCCC sub­sidiary as lead con­trac­tor to carry out civil en­gi­neer­ing works for this project.

“We’re seek­ing to de­velop closer links with Chi­nese com­pa­nies in­volved in these two trad­ing routes, help­ing them to ex­pand glob­ally through our net­work, trans­port and lo­gis­tics ser­vices,” saidJen­sEskelund, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor ofMaersk China Ltd.

China is Maersk Line’s largest ex­port mar­ket, ac­count­ing for more than 35 per­cent of the Dan­ish com­pany’s global ex­port vol­umes.

Through its in­tra-Asia arm MCC Trans­port, Maersk Line op­er­ates a com­pre­hen­sive net­work of ser­vices be­tween China and mem­ber coun­tries of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east AsianNa­tions. In ad­di­tion to ser­vices from the main ports, sev­eral smaller ports in the re­gion, in­clud­ing Sibu in­Malaysia orDavao in the Philip­pines, have been added to the net­work.

MCC also launched a di­rect ser­vice con­nect­ing Qinzhou of Guangxi Zhuang au­tonomous re­gion to Tan­jung Pelepas and Sin­ga­pore last year, which makes MCC the first for­eign liner that of­fers di­rect weekly ser­vice to Qinzhou.

Eskelund said in a chal­leng­ing mar­ket char­ac­ter­ized by over­ca­pac­ity and low freight rates, the com­pany’s cur­rent fo­cus is on im­prov­ing prof­itabil­ity.

Maersk Line con­tin­ues to face chal­leng­ing mar­ket con­di­tions. It posted a loss of $116 mil­lion in the third quar­ter of the year, com­pared to a profit of $264 mil­lion in the same pe­riod of 2015.

“Maersk will con­tinue to im­prove ef­fi­ciency, lower bunker con­sump­tion and a ra­zor-sharp fo­cus on costs. In ad­di­tion, we man­age our ca­pac­ity tightly with a dis­ci­plined or­der book and other ini­tia­tives in­clud­ing idling and blank sail­ing,” he said.

Jens Eskelund, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Maersk China Ltd

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