During an interview with CNBC, Maersk’s CEO, Soren Skou, provided his thoughts on the US-China trade war, and the recently-signed Phase 1 deal. He also commented on the slowed trade, as well as the problematic situation at the Strait of Hormuz.
According to Soren Skou, 2019 was a year of slow trade growth, but Maersk is looking for things to reduce uncertainty and in particular business-wide, so it can increase investments. Commenting on the Phase 1 deal, he stated that:
Phase 1 is one such measure that helps reduce uncertainty, but it does not make a difference to overall volumes in shipping routes
He explained, that it is still “too early to say” if the US-China trade deal will boost shipping volumes.
Continuing to the hot issue of the Middle East, Mr. Skou highlighted that keeping the Strait of Hormuz open is crucial for global shipping, and certainly for container shipping. He noted however, that the world is well supplied with oil.
There will be an interest from all sides to keep it open [Strait of Hormuz]
In order to protect its ships, Maersk is currently ”not doing anything rather than basically moving through the strait at speed and not anchoring or anything like that”, Mr. Skou said.
Soren Skou was also questioned about the recent push by Maersk on the land logistics. As he said, Maersk has a 30 billion dollar business port to port and 6 billion land based logistics to its ocean clients.
They spend as much on land side logistics as they do on the ocean and we do feel we have a strong opportunity to sell more land side logistic services to our customers. That’s where our growth has to come from
Finally, the issue of sustainability would not have been absent from the interview. According to Mr. Skou, shipping is the most environmental friendly mode of transport, and Maersk has noticed that many of its clients want to reduce their emissions, and they are making such efforts.