In terms of service to its clients, how does Maersk Line look to be the best in its sector?
“Our word is our bond" is the motto of our founder, and that is really what we have come to be known for globally. That being said, we are constantly evaluating our operating costs and structure to ensure we operate as efficiently as possible while delivering a top-quality product to our customers. I think one of the reasons we are still doing reasonably well in this region is our focus on reliability, ensuring that our customers get their products delivered to the respective destinations on time.
How has the volume of containers through Dubai's ports changed over the last year?
The biggest change we are seeing is in imports. Import volumes, mainly into the UAE, have witnessed a surge in the recent past; reflecting growth of 25% for 1H2014 over the same period last year. On the export front, we see steady growth driven mainly by major investments in the petrochemical industries across the countries we operate in. Furthermore, opportunities for growth in the region continue to exist on the back of strong investments in export-driven industries, large infrastructure projects attracting imports, increasing consumer demand, and growth in the tourism industry.
How does Maersk Line contribute to sustainability?
Sustainability and the economy go hand and hand in our industry as fuel costs make up around 20% of our total costs. The Triple-E vessels are certainly a major investment for us, but we have been involved in various initiatives for a while in order to contribute toward improving the environmental performance of our industry. In 2007, Maersk Line initiated a comprehensive study on 110 vessels, which showed that the engine load can manage to go as low as 10%. This makes it possible for container ships to sail at half speed, thereby reducing not only fuel costs significantly, but also CO2 emissions. More than 100 Maersk Line vessels have utilized super slow steaming since 2007, which is one of the fundamentals for Maersk Line today being approximately 8%-10% lower on CO2 emissions than the industry average.
What are some of the maritime industry trends influencing Maersk Line's operations?
The industry is finding ways to consolidate. In this regard, Maersk Line has announced a 10-year Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA) with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) on the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific routes. The VSA will be referred to as 2M. The VSA will include 185 vessels with an estimated capacity of 2.1 million TEUs, deployed on 21 strings. The overall purpose of the cooperation is to share infrastructure. Maersk Line along with MSC will be able to provide our customers with competitive and reliable container shipping in the East-West trades at attractive prices. To do so we have to be innovative and take out costs, while keeping a product that is the best in class for our customers in terms of coverage, frequency, and reliability. The VSA will improve the efficiency of the Maersk Line and MSC networks through better utilization of vessel capacity and economies of scale. This is expected to start in early 2015.
How does the maritime sector here in Dubai compare to some of the other hubs in which you operate worldwide?
Dubai as a major transhipment hub has a unique position in the region. This not only offers us the advantage of serving burgeoning markets in the Gulf, but also provides access to a larger local market. In terms of competition, of the 20 largest groups in the world, all the major players are present here. It is a very competitive environment, which I believe will continue to be a key driver in Dubai's success.