Maersk CEO says container volumes are improving in 2016

Maersk containers stored at the North port terminal in Bremerhaven, northern Germany.
Maersk containers stored at the North port terminal in Bremerhaven, northern Germany.PHOTO: AFP

COPENHAGEN (BLOOMBERG) - Container volumes have picked up this year after the market suffered from sluggish growth and overcapacity in 2015, according to the chief executive officer of A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S.

"At the beginning of this year, things look a little bit better," Nils Smedegaard Andersen said in an interview with Bloomberg Television's Jonathan Ferro. "We do expect the Asia to Europe business to develop better this year."

Maersk's container line, the world's largest, suffered last year from a toxic cocktail of too many vessels just as global trade sagged. While the industry still needs to address overcapacity, the demand side looks better, Mr Andersen said.

"We find it difficult to believe that the European trade will continue to be negative in 2016," the CEO said, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "A competitive euro and very low energy prices are good for the European economy so Europe should start to pick up consumption-wise this year."

Maersk shares pared losses of as much as 3.8 percent, declining 1.7 percent to 7,715 kroner as of 11:05 a.m. in Copenhagen.

"Now we're seeing volumes picking up a little bit" but it's still "early days", the CEO said.