Maersk plans lay off 2,000 in business shake-up, boosts outlook amid growing freight demand

The Danish giant is set to merge its sea and in-land logistics sectors. (Reuters)
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Updated 13 October 2020

Maersk plans lay off 2,000 in business shake-up, boosts outlook amid growing freight demand

  • Maersk currently has around 80,000 employees

COPENHAGEN: The world’s biggest container shipping line, Maersk, said demand was recovering faster than expected and lifted its earnings outlook, while also announcing plans to cut 2,000 jobs as it streamlines to cut costs.

Maersk, which handles about one in five containers shipped worldwide, said that though cargo volumes were still down on last year they had picked up more than forecast after falling sharply at the height of the coronavirus pandemic a few months ago.

“A.P. Moller — Maersk is on track to deliver a strong Q3 with solid earnings growth across all our businesses, in particular in Ocean and Logistics & Services,” CEO Soren Skou said in a statement. “Volumes have rebounded faster than expected, our costs have remained well under control, freight rates have increased due to strong demand,” Skou said.

Volumes in Maersk’s Ocean-division declined by around 3 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period last year, above an expected mid-single digit contraction, the company said.

The Danish company said it would cut 2,000 positions as a result of a major reorganization announced last month, where it seeks to integrate its seaborne container and in-land logistics businesses.

Maersk currently has around 80,000 employees. Shares in Maersk were down by around 1 percent on Tuesday morning.

The company expects restructuring costs of around $100 million in the third quarter related to the redundancies.

Maersk said it now expects full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in the range of $7.5 billion to $8.0 billion before restructuring and integration costs, up from an earlier range of $6.0 billion to $7.0 billion.

Preliminary results for the third quarter showed revenue at $9.9 billion, while EBITDA before restructuring and integration costs came in at $2.4 billion, Maersk said.


Ski resorts out in the cold as France eases lockdown

Updated 27 November 2020

Ski resorts out in the cold as France eases lockdown

  • Frustrated resort operators count the cost of holiday season restrictions

MEGEVE, France:  Megeve, in the foothills of Mont Blanc, was gearing up to welcome back skiers before Christmas after a COVID-19 lockdown was eased.

But France’s government — while allowing cinemas, museums and theaters to reopen from Dec. 15 — says its ski slopes must stay off limits until 2021, leaving those who make their living in the Alpine village frustrated and, in some cases, perplexed.

“When you’re outside, when you’re doing sport outdoors, that’s not the moment when you’re going to give COVID-19 to someone. COVID-19 is passed on in enclosed places,” said Pierre de Monvallier, director of ski school Oxygene, which operates in several resorts including Megeve.

Announcing a phased easing of the lockdown on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was “impossible to envisage” re-opening ski slopes for Christmas and New Year, and that he preferred instead to do so during January.

“It felt like the door had been slammed in our face,” said Catherine Jullien-Breches, the mayor of Megeve, whose green slopes are generally covered with snow by mid-December.

“Unfortunately it’s a real drama for the economies of the villages and the winter sports resorts.”

People who live within 20 km of France’s Alpine resorts will able to visit from this weekend, but with the lifts staying shut, the main draw is missing.

“It’s like going on holiday on the Cote d’Azur and being told the sea is off limits,” said David Le Scouarnec, co-owner of Megeve’s Cafe 2 la Poste.

The problem for the resorts — and the hotels, restaurants, and workers who depend on them for their livelihood — is that their season is short, and they will have little time after the New Year to claw back lost revenue.

Other European authorities are wrestling with the same problem. Italy’s resorts regions are seeking approval for restricted skiing, but Austria, whose biggest cluster of the first wave of the pandemic was at the ski resort of Ischgl — where thousands were infected — is skeptical.

Prevarication cuts little ice, however, with Mathieu Dechavanne, Chairman and CEO of Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, which operates cable cars at Megeve and other resorts.

He said who could not understand why the government allowed trains and metros to operate, but barred him from re-opening. “It’s like we’re being punished. We don’t deserve this. We’re ready.”