The company said earnings dropped 36 percent to 18.1 billion kroner ($3.3 billion), despite a 2 percent rise in revenue to 322 billion kroner, as lower freight rates offset the impact of higher container volumes. A.P. Moller-Maersk's subsidiary Maersk Line is the world's largest container carrier with a fleet of more than 500 vessels. The parent company also has operations as an oil contractor, which enjoyed good revenue due to higher crude prices. In 2010, Maersk returned to profitability following a 7 billion kroner loss the previous year, when the shipping industry was hit by the severe economic downturn. Maersk Line said earlier this month it would cut 9 percent of its shipping capacity on the Asia-Europe route, its largest, in an effort to restore profitability.
It said the reduction will be facilitated by a vessel sharing agreement with the French container shipping line, CMA-CGM. Container lines have been losing money after the shipping industry added too many ships in anticipation of a trade recovery, causing rates to plunge.