Maersk CEO in customer apology.
In a letter to customers dated 15 February, Maersk Line CEO Eivind Kolding said ocean carriers were experiencing changes in the market which have led to volatility and made business incredibly difficult.
"We realize that this abrupt change in market conditions has not been managed well by us in all instances, causing undue problems, for which we apologise," he wrote.
"A particular challenge has been an extraordinary amount of over bookings on many of our sailings," he continued.
Mr Kolding promised to find ways to ease the problems, which caused "great inefficiencies for all of us', Today's Trucking.com reported.
He stated that the sudden drop in freight volumes at the beginning of last year had driven shipping rates down to an unsustainable level.
"Maersk Line, as most other liner companies, made great efforts to significantly reduce costs including capacity to get to a more stable and sustainable position to the benefit of all," Mr Kolding explained.
He predicted the current market conditions would continue into the second quarter of 2010.
"It should also be kept in mind that rate levels are yet only approaching break-even levels and hence not compensatory," the letter continued.
"For instance, in December they were 7-8 per cent below December 2008 and nearly 20 per cent lower than December 2007 excluding BAF."