Maersk shipping boss: ‘Christmas will be safe’ from shortages

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Christmas trading will be safe from supply chain problems, the boss of shipping firm Maersk has told the BBC – adding, “at least that’s what I’m hearing from our customers”.The company handles almost 20% of the world’s shipping containers.

Chief executive Soren Skou, said the firm is chartering more ships, keeping ports open longer and has opened more warehouses to help.

The firm is doing “everything” it can to alleviate the problems, he said.

There have been recent warnings in the UK and the US that logjams at ports will lead to shortages at Christmas.

Mr Skou said that a shortage of workers in the ports to unload ships and a lack of truckers was behind the problems.

Mr Skou estimated that approximately 300 large container ships around the world are sitting waiting outside ports. Almost 80 of these, he added, were in Los Angeles, with a “few” outside Felixstowe and others stuck by Chinese ports including Shanghai and Ningbo.

Mr Skou, who runs the world’s biggest shipping firm, said this shows no sign of easing: “The reality is that consumer demand is strong and at the same time our customers inventories are low.”

“They both need to serve the consumer here and now, but also rebuild inventories and that’s why we have an unprecedented demand situation”.

The demand has meant Maersk and other shipping companies have been able to charge record prices. The Danish company’s pre-tax profits rose fivefold to $5.9bn for the July to September period.


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