Freight rates have continued to weaken with carriers unable to push through their mid-December GRI efforts as capacity utilisation remaining soft across all key tradelanes. Carriers remain reluctant to remove capacity in any meaningful manner apart from ad hoc blank sailings. Charter rates have found support with carriers still chasing for tonnage despite the collapse in freight rates.
Today’s announcement of the change of CEO at Maersk will not change industry dynamics, as its rivals continue to push forward with their growth paths while Maersk is expected to double down on its integrated logistics strategy under the direction of its new CEO. Maersk has the second lowest orderbook amongst the Top 10 carriers at just 10% against the aggregated orderbook of 31% for its main rivals as it continues to downplay market share growth.
Soren Skou will step down as the CEO of Maersk and will be replaced by the current CEO of Maersk’s Ocean & Logistics business, Vincent Clerc effective on 1 January 2023. Skou leaves behind a chequered legacy since he took over as Group CEO in July 2016, overseeing the transition away from Maersk’s traditional focus on the liner business to an integrated logistics solutions business. Maersk lost its crown as the largest container shipping company in 2021 under Skou’s watch, and failed to fully capitalize on the 2021-2022 bull run as it continued to lose market share to its main rivals – MSC and CMA CGM. Maersk’s participation in the 2M alliance with MSC after 2024 is also in doubt, while its digitalization efforts have failed to deliver any competitive advantage against rivals, with the much vaunted TradeLens blockchain-enabled trade platform with IBM abandoned just 2 weeks before Skou’s retirement was announced on 12 December 2022.
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