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COPENHAGEN: The AP Moller-Maersk Group has reported a six percent drop in net profits to US$3.77 billion for 2013 on revenues of US$47.4 billion – down four percent year-on-year.

Group CEO Nils Andersen said the company was pleased with profit development during the year with Maersk Line "strengthening profitability despite challenging shipping markets".

Despite a 3.4 percenAP Moller Maersk t drop in revenue to US$26.2 billion, Maersk Line profits rose to US$1.5 billion from US$461 million in 2012. Traffic volumes rose 4.1 percent in 2013 as freight rates fell 7.2 percent overall. The company cites network optimisation and lower bunker prices for the improved performance.

Fleet capacity increased by 0.2 percent to total 2.6 million TEUs as the company reduced its charter fleet by 27 ships; terminated the leases on a further 14 and took delivery of four Tripe E container vessels. An additional 16 Triple E ships are due for delivery by 2015.

Maersk Line says last year saw increased attention to sustainability performance from its customers with large customers representing 19 percent of transported volumes requesting tailored sustainability information as part of their business relationship with the company.

In a direct link to lowering costs, Maersk reports a 34 percent drop in average CO2 emission per container kilometre since 2007. Last year the company reduced emissions by a further 12 percent year-on-year due to network and speed optimisation; technical upgrading of vessels; change of behaviour and the deployment of new and more efficient vessels, such as the Triple-E.

AP Moller-Maersk expects Maersk Line to produce a similar profit in 2014 due in part to cost reductions and an overall rise in seaborne traffic of 4-5 percent. However market overcapacity will continue to depress rates, says the company.

Despite the good news from Maersk, the group reports its logistics arm Damco produced a significant loss of US$111 million in 2013 compared to a profit of US$55 million the previous year. The company cites a one-time restructuring cost aimed at "simplifying and consolidating its operational structure" with benefits to gradually show from the second half of 2014.

Revenue for 2013 fell a modest one percent to US$3.2 billion year-on-year partly as a result of reduced government-related project cargo that also contributed to the slowdown in airfreight volumes. Damco says its supply chain management business grew 13 percent, airfreight traffic rose eight percent and ocean volumes declined one percent compared to 2012.

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