Home » 3PL/4PL » Maersk Line upbeat over 2008 outlook

MAERSK Line Philippines is looking at modest growth for global exports this year amid the spiraling fuel cost and the global economic slowdown.

“The outlook for 2008 remains a fairly healthy one on the global demand front,with Drewry Shipping Consultants forecasting a small uplift in freight rates for ocean carriers and continued impressive growth in the Far East, Europe and Mediterranean trades,” Maersk Line Philippine country manager Jesper Dalgaard Larsen told PortCalls.

“With this, we expect a modest growth for exports in 2008,” Larsen said.

“However, carriers cannot continue to pay all the cost of rising fuel prices at the same time sustain a high service level on the various trades… what we need is a fair and equitable solution that allows us to share the risk with our customers in a simple and transparent manner,” Larsen said.

With this in mind, the world’s biggest container line recently introduced a new formula for the computation of the bunker adjustment factor. The move is an attempt at providing a hassle-free, transparent process for adjusting rates in response to one of the most unpredictable aspects of the container shipping business environment – fuel price hikes.

Maersk Line consumes well over 10 million tons of bunker fuel each year.

For better customer service, Maersk Line also recently introduced a new management style dubbed StreamLINE, which allows more autonomy in decision-making in each of the respective country operations. This ensures services snugly fit needs of local customers.

In the Philippines, Maersk Line is upgrading its Mindanao service to better cater to growing demand in the area.

Supply and demand situation

Apart from the oil issue and the global economic slowdown, some sectors have raised concerns that the supply and demand situation will deteriorate over the coming years due to a combination of weakening demand and a large order book for new container vessels.

“But if you look at the figures provided by reputed independent analysts, such as Drewry and Clarkson, it is clear that this view that supply will be in excess of demand is not supported by hard numbers,” Larsen said.

Drewry and Clarkson forecast a fairly solid global gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2008. GDP growth is acknowledged as a key driver of demand growth. While the world economy is expected to slow down in 2008, growth will still be well above the long-term average of 3%.

Last year, the global container market posted a 10% increase over 2006, anchored on the 5% increase in the world economy.

Cargo volumes to the US increased 6.7% while volumes from Asia to South America and vice versa grew in the 20-30% range. Volumes from Asia to Europe increased 18% in 2007.

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