COPENHAGEN, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Maersk Line, the world's biggest container shipping company and a unit of Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk, aims to raise freight rates on refrigerated containers by 30 percent rate in a bid to restore profitability.
Maersk Line Chief Executive Soren Skou told a shipping industry conference in Antwerp on Tuesday that it was raising rates for refrigerated containers, known as reefers, by $1,500 per 40-foot unit from Jan. 1, according to handout material provided to Reuters on Wednesday.
Skou said that overall shipping industry profitability is too low, and the "overall market outlook is very bleak," the presentation material showed.
Skou told the Cool Logistics conference that over the past seven years Maersk's reefer rates had not even kept up with inflation and over the past 18 months they have lagged rising bunker fuel costs.
He said the decision to raise rates was not taken lightly and it would have a significant short-term impact on markets and Maersk's customers.
"This will provide us with the returns we need to further invest in the reefer segment," Skou said, according to the presentation handouts.
Reefers are used to carry perishable cargo from fruit to frozen meat. (Reporting by John Acher; Editing by Louise Heavens)