Maersk Expects Freight Challenges to Persist Until Mid-Year

New York, NY, February 10, 2022-Danish container-ship company A.P. Moller-Maersk said it expects supply-chain bottlenecks to last until June and sealed a $1.68 billion deal to help shore up its inland-distribution business, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Maersk, which moves 17% of the world’s shipping containers on its vessels, said Wednesday that the buyout of U.S.-based Pilot Freight Services will bolster its ability to move big and bulky freight in North America. Pilot operates a network of 87 inland hubs and works with third-party trucking providers to move freight to customers.

“‘Our customers need to move their products from a factory in China to a distribution center and all the way to a consumer’s front door,’ Maersk Chief Executive Soren Skou said in an interview.

‘Pilot Freight will help us add new services within the fast-growing big and bulky e-commerce sector.’

“The buyout is the latest in a series of acquisitions for Maersk and its competitors, such as CMA CGM SA of France, as they morph into end-to-end supply-chain providers from primarily handling ocean freight. Maersk in November bought Germany-based freight forwarder Senator International for about $644 million and LF Logistics, the warehousing arm of supply-chain manager Li & Fung Ltd., in December for $3.6 billion.

“Container-ship operators have enjoyed strong profits over the past two years, as port bottlenecks and growing consumer demand for manufactured goods helped them raise freight rates to record levels.

“And while conditions have helped Maersk, Mr. Skou said he expects supply issues to continue through the first half of this year and gradually ease thereafter. He said demand for manufactured goods should wane as people return to work and spend more on services like travel and entertainment.”