A.P. Moller – Maersk has reported record earnings in the third quarter of 2021, with revenue up 68% to US$16.6 billion for the quarter.

The company’s EBIT was up almost five times to US$5.9 billion and EBITDA tripled to US$6.9 billion. Return on invested capital increased to 34.5% for the past 12 months.

A.P. Moller – Maersk CEO Søren Skou said, “In the ongoing exceptional market situation, with high demand in the US and global disruptions to the supply chains, we continued to increase capacity and expand our offerings to keep cargo moving for our customers. Our integrator strategy is key to supporting our customers’ end-to-end logistics needs by designing a more stable Ocean business, strongly growing our logistics offering and relying on automated and efficient terminals.”

In the company’s ocean division, third quarter results were driven by high freight rates, with revenue almost doubling to US$13.1 billion from US$7.1 billion, EBITDA increased by US$4.4 billion to US$6.3 billion and EBIT improved by US$4.4 billion to US$5.3 billion.

To further guarantee reliable transportation, the share of long-term contracts was further increased, now accounting for 64% of long-haul volumes compared to 50% a year ago.

The company said its logistics and services division continued positive momentum, with revenue increasing 38% to US$2.6 billion.

The growth in the logistics and services division was driven by strong activity increase across all products and strong commercial synergies to top 200 ocean customers. EBIT increased to US$194m from US$100m in same quarter last year and with an EBIT margin of 7.5% well ahead of our mid-term target of above 6%

Gateway terminals also had a strong Q3 with revenue growing to US$1 billion in Q3 from US$816 million last year as volumes increased by 9.6% mainly coming from North America, Latin America and Asia as opening times were expanded and capacity utilisation increased. Together with underlying efficiency improvements, terminals achieved a return on invested capital of 10%.

Mr Skou said, “As a natural next step in expanding our multi-logistics offering, we today announce the acquisition of Senator International and the ordering of additional aircraft, building on our existing Air Freight capabilities and adding even more flexibility to our customers’ supply chains.

In its guidance, A.P. Moller – Maersk reiterated the guidance for the full year, as announced in September with an underlying EBITDA in the range of US$22 billion-23 billion, an underlying EBIT in the range of US$18 billion-19 billion and a free cash flow of minimum US$14.5 billion.

Ocean is now expected to grow below the global container demand, which is now expected to grow 7-9% in 2021 (previously 6-8% in 2021), subject to high uncertainties related to the current congestion and network disruption.

The company said current trading conditions are still subject to a higher-than-normal uncertainty due to the temporary nature of current demand patterns, disruptions in the supply chains. However, current conditions are expected to continue at least into the first quarter of 2022, resulting in an EBITDA for Q1 2022 in line with Q4 2021.