Maersk Line to increase Asia-Europe shipping rates by $400 per TEU

COPENHAGEN, March 15 (Reuters) - World’s largest container shipping company Maersk Line, owned by A.P. Moller-Maersk , plans to increase freight rates for transporting containers from Asia to Northern Europe by $400 per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) from April 1, it said on Tuesday.

The increase would take rates up by 190 percent on the current level, that is widely seen as loss-making. The shipping company also aims to raise freight rates from Asia to ports in the Mediterranean by $500 TEU.

The container shipping industry has been struggling because of overcapacity as a result of the global economic downturn.

With a fleet of nearly 600 vessels, Copenhagen-based Maersk Line has a market share of about 20 percent on the world’s busiest routes between Asia and Europe.

Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and France’s CMA CGM, the world’s second and third-largest container shipping groups, said earlier in March they aimed to hike rates from Asia to Northern Europe by $500 per TEU, also with effect from April 1. (Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen; Editing by Greg Mahlich)