The world’s largest shipping group Maersk is to lay off between 2,000 and 3,000 employees from its container shipping unit in an effort to return to profitability. The Danish company is also going to simplify its global organisation.
Copenhagen based analyst Stephen Rammer said that could be a risky move: “The first question is whether there’s going to be a strike. We also need to consider whether Maersk’s assets – its ships, terminals and container division – can do more business with fewer people.”
Maersk’s share of the container shipping market fell last year from above 18% to below 17%. It is forecasting a small full-year net profit for 2007. In 2006 Maersk lost money after shipping rates declined due to a glut of vessels and it underestimated the cost of integrating Royal P & O Nedlloyd which it had bought.
The company will continue to operate on the same number of routes, but plans to try to attract more profitable cargos.