The slowdown in the international shipping sector is taking its toll on the Danish Maersk Group. The global leader in container shipping is planning a job cull, dropping a scheme to expand its fleet.
The world's biggest container shipper, which has 23,000 land-based employees worldwide, said 4,000 jobs would have to be slashed. It added the layoffs would take place by the end of 2017.
"These decisions are not taken lightly, but they are necessary steps to transform our industry," said Maersk Line Chief Executive Soren Skou.
Other measures included pushing back investments and trimming container ship capacity, the company announced.
The savings from the moves were estimated at $250 million (229 million euros) in the next two years.
The maritime division of Danish conglomerate A.P. Moeller-Maersk has been battling price and demand falls and is cutting capacity, warning that a fall in activity will hit annual results due for publication Friday.
Late last month, petroleum division Maersk Oil announced it would slash its workforce by between 10 and 12 percent in the face of low oil prices.
"We are in the process of transforming Maersk Line, to make the organization simpler and leaner. We want to improve the online experience of clients and at the same time work as efficiently as possible," Chief Executive Soren Skou in a statement.
Maersk Line is to reduce administrative costs by $250 million within two years. With the downturn in the market, Maersk Line is also cutting back its fleet expansion, dropping plans to purchase six giant vessels on which it had placed an option.
Maersk's parent company Moller-Maersk is due Friday to report its third quarter results. The group includes offshore oil and gas activities, as well as shipyard operations.
tko/ hg (dpa, AP, afp)