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Maersk Line: Difficult to keep the rates up

Maersk Line is tired of the rate developments on Asia-Europe. Now the rate increase is being postponed another two weeks, to May 1st, so as to avoid standing alone and in the hopes that the competitiors will follow suit.

The current rate level on Asia-Europe is not satisfactory, says Lars Mikael Jensen, head of Maersk Line's routes between Asia and Europe, to ShippingWatch. The shipping company just informed its customers that a USD 500 per teu rate increase planned to come into effect on April 15th has been postponed two weeks, till May 1st.

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"The shipping companies are having difficulties hanging onto the rate increases we've gotten through, and they been hollowed out slowly, so we have to try again. There is a need to get the prices up, the market is there, the volumes are coming up, but certain players in the market felt that April 15th were not the right date for them. And it wouldn't work if we were doing it alone, being USD 500 more expensive than the general market for two weeks," says Lars Mikael Jensen to ShippingWatch:

"I hope the others will hang in there and keep it cool from May 1st. Anything else would be foolish, but I can't control what the others do. In relation to our prospects and the use of the ships, there is no reason the prices shouldn't go up. The market is there, the volumes are coming up, and the summer season is coming. At the moment, I doubt many carriers are making a profit from the prices we're seeing now."

The analysts at SeaIntel describe the rates as being in free fall, following another massive decline, 12.1 percent, in the past week. The rate has decreased by USD 483 per teu in just four weeks, the lowest level since February 2012.

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