Shipping group Maersk has posted better than expected fourth-quarter revenue and earnings, fuelled by record freight rates for container shipping.
A fall in ocean-going container volumes by 4% in the last three months of the year was more than offset by freight rates improving 80% compared with a year earlier.
'The strong result in the quarter reflects the continuation of the exceptional market situation within (the) Ocean (division) caused by global disruptions to supply chains, which have led to further increase in container freight rates,' Maersk said in a statement.
Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) totalled $8 billion, above guidance given by the company in November and the $7 billion expected by analysts in a Refinitiv poll.
Revenue stood at $18.5 billion, against $17.5 billion expected by analysts.
The company will publish full financial results on 9 February 2022.
Earlier this week, the container shipping giant said it now plans to achieve net zero emissions in its business by 2040, a decade earlier than previously announced, on the back of rising customer demand for green transportation and technical leaps.
With about 90% of world trade transported by sea, global shipping accounts for nearly 3% of the world's CO2 emissions, and the sector is under growing scrutiny to become cleaner.
In August, Maersk acquired two e-commerce companies in a bid to increase its focus on land-based services. It bought Visible Supply Chain Management and B2C Europe, both specialised in e-commerce, for a combined enterprise value of $924 million (€781.4 million), the group said.