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Maersk to increase fuel fee on Middle East-India cargo

The Danish carrier also plans to increase fee for trade from the Far East-Asia region to South Africa. (FILE)

By Staff Writer

Maersk Line announced plans to raise bunker fuel surcharges imposed earlier on cargo moving on its services between the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, including Bangladesh, the Red Sea and Europe.

Effective March 1, the surcharges will be $150 (Dh551) per TEU (20-foot equivalent units) and $300 per FEU (40-foot equivalent units), up from $140 and $280, the carrier said in an advisory.

In a separate notice, the Danish carrier said it plans to implement a similar increase for the trade from the Far East-Asia region to South Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, also effective from March 1. The revised surcharges will be $295 per TEU and $590 per FEU compared with $265 and $530 imposed earlier. A P Moller-Maersk has cut its full-year 2008 profit forecast by $600-900 million due mainly to a lower contribution from a banking unit and the impact of lower global growth at its other business units.

The owner of carrier, Maersk Line said it is now forecasting 2008 net profit of around $3.4 billion, down from its previously announced range of $4-4.3bn in November.

Danske Bank, Denmark's biggest financial services company, reported last week that 2008 net profit plunged 93 per cent from a year ago to $175 million and said it would apply for a loan of $4.55bn from Denmark's banking support package. Maersk has said it has no plans to dispose of its 20 per cent stake in the bank.

Maersk said its other business units – including container shipping and oil exploration – met targets during the fourth quarter. But "a number of these…units will, however, also be affected by the lower global growth, lower oil prices and declining asset values."

Maersk Line made an operating profit of $92m in the first nine months of 2008 against a year-earlier loss of $57m and narrowed net losses to $64m from $202m.

In January, A P Moller-Maersk Chief Executive Nils Andersen said global container volume will shrink in 2009 and the downturn likely would continue into 2010. The company will release its annual report for 2008 on March 5.