COPENHAGEN (Reuters): Danish shipping and oil group A.P Moller-Maersk has chosen Soren Skou, currently head of its tankers business, to be the new head of its container shipping arm, Maersk Line, the group said last week.
Skou will take over as CEO of Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping company, from Eivind Kolding who was named head of Danske Bank.
Skou, a 47-year-old who has been CEO of Maersk Tankers since 2001 and who joined Maersk as a shipping trainee in 1983, said the Danish group was gaining market share in a difficult market.
“It is clear that we are winning market share at the moment and have a high utilisation of tonnage,” Skou told Reuters.
He will take charge of Maersk Line in a period of difficulty for the world’s shipping industry which has been hit by low freight rates amid a glut of capacity and increased uncertainty due to the international economic crisis.
A.P Moller-Maersk, the shipping and oil conglomerate, reported in November that its container shipping dove into the red and would remain loss-making for the full-year 2011, hit by “very low rates.”
Skou said that he did not plan to make any major changes at Maersk Line.
“I will first of all build further on what Eivind Kolding and his team have worked with, but we must also take account of the fact that the industry is in a difficult situation. All in all, it is a super strong operation that really has strength to wield in the container market,” Skou said.
Skou also said the industry was troubled with excess capacity and added: “There is a consolidation process under way that we obviously support.”Skou, age 47, said a priority would be to develop further the Daily Maersk service that Kolding launched this year.
The service, which links the ports of Ningbo, Shanghai and Yantian in China and Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia with Felixstowe in the UK, Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Bremerhaven in Germany, is seen as a challenge to rivals on high-capacity Asia-Europe routes.
Skou declined to say if Maersk Line would dock any tonnage to tighten up the market.