Soak it up!

Let’s take another look at the shipping “recovery”.

– Port Technology (May 17, 2012) – “World’s largest ocean carrier loses more in Q1 2012 than in the whole of 2011.”

“Maersk Line has reported an operating loss of nearly $ 600 million for the first quarter of the year, more than the ocean carrier lost in the whole of 2011 …

“The first quarter losses compares with a $ 602 million loss for the whole of 2011, and what was a record profit of $ 2.6 billion in 2010. The Danish carrier said that the outlook for the rest of the year is very sensitive towards changes in the market balance …” –

– Reuters (May 18, 2012) – “RIO DE JANIERO – Maersk Line, the container ship division of Denmark’s AP Moller-Maersk A/S, plans to raise its Latin American cargo rates by as much as 30 percent this year to stanch losses and pay for 16 ships being built for the region, the company said.

“The decision to raise Latin American rates comes as Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company and a barometer for world trade, struggles to recover from a world economic turndown …

“On Thursday, Maersk stock fell 6.1 percent in Copenhagen, the biggest decline among European blue-chip stocks. It was the company’s biggest drop in nine months …” –

It’s obvious that business schools in Denmark look at economics a bit differently from the way the rest of academia views the discipline. When your bottom line is red and your client list is shrinking, Danes are taught that the solution to the problem is to soak the buyers still favoring you with their business. Well – it sure looks that way.

Others don’t agree, though.

– “Japanese owners condemn Panama Canal toll hike”, Lloyd’s List told us on May 17th:

“The Japanese Shipowners’ Association (JSA) has written to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to protest proposed toll hikes. In its May 17th letter the JSA writes: ‘Amid the current downturn the shipping industry is facing, we are deeply disappointed at learning of your last-minute proposal to increase the canal tolls effective from July of 2012 and 2013 …'”-

Well, now. Didn’t that little fourth grade girl back in 2006 suggest that maybe the Japanese should, indeed, foot some of the cost of that canal expansion? So if the ACP doesn’t want to pay for it, and if the JSA doesn’t, just what – or who – do you suppose they have in mind. Give you one guess.