Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk on Wednesday warned of a sharp drop in global container volumes due to the coronavirus pandemic after posting flat first-quarter revenues in line with expectations.
"As global demand continues to be significantly affected, we expect volumes in the second quarter to decrease across all businesses, possibly by as much as 20%-25%," chief executive Soren Skou said in a statement.
The company now expects global container demand to contract this year, after previously forecasting growth of 1%-3%.
To deal with the slowdown in trade and keep freight rates from falling, Maersk said it had cancelled more than 90 sailings, or 3.5% of total shipping capacity, in the first quarter. It expects to cancel some 140 sailings in the April to June period.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 23% to $1.52 billion, slightly above company guidance provided in March when it suspended full-year guidance due to uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The world's biggest container shipping company reported revenue of $9.57 billion versus the $9.59 billion forecast by 16 analysts in a poll compiled by Maersk.