Maersk returns to profit as world trade picks up

Image caption,
Maersk owns the world's biggest container shipping company, Maersk Line

Danish container shipping firm AP Moller-Maersk has reported a return to profit, after global trade picked up.

Maersk reported a net profit of 28.2bn Danish kronor ($5.18bn; £3.19bn) for 2010 against a loss of 5.49bn Danish kronor the year before.

In 2009, trade and shipping was hit badly by the economic downturn.

However, Maersk has warned that its 2011 profits will not be as good, due to uncertain freight rates and the price of oil.

The results came after Maersk announced it would order 10 container ships from Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding for $1.9bn, with options for more, to capitalise on growth in shipping routes between Asia and Europe.

The new Triple-E class vessels - measuring 400 metres long, 59 metres wide and 73 metres tall - will be "the largest vessel of any type known to be in operation", Eivind Kolding, chief executive of Maersk Line, told the Reuters news agency.

The new ships will have the capacity to carry 18,000 standard 20-foot containers.

Strong presence

"Looking ahead, we see strong potential in growth markets, where the number of middle-income consumers is booming," said chief executive Nils Andersen.

"In 2011, we will focus the main part of our attention and investments in these markets, where we already have a strong presence."

Maersk Line is the world's biggest container shipping company.

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