The chief executive of the world's largest container shipping company Moller-Maersk told CNBC that the company would not order any new ships this year and it had idled 28 vessels around the world this year.
"The shipping industry needs to take note that the future growth both in container volumes will be very slow and the only way to bring the market back in balance is to be very, very careful on ordering and that's why we're not ordering any new ships," Chief Executive Nils Smedegaard Andersen told CNBC on Friday.
"We don't plan to order any ships this year because we don't believe there's a need for new capacity. We didn't order any vessels last year, so what is coming on stream from us now is our ships ordered in 2011."
Moller-Maersk reported first quarter net profit of $790 million, down 30 percent from the year-ago period. Den Abeele of Castalia Fund Management said the shipping industry was facing a very tough time and there was still plenty of oversupply.
But Moller-Maersk's shares rose 1.7 percent on Friday morning because the first quarter numbers were better than analysts' expectations and the company also kept its outlook for 2013.
Andersen said that the company had done well despite the economic crisis but he also sounded a note of caution.
"We're not banking on any hope. The recession in Europe seems to be going on with no diminishing trends but when I look back at the last five years we've grown our equity from 24 to 39 billion dollars and paid increasing dividends out to shareholders having good returns in a cyclical business like ours, in a downturn."
"Each company has to find its own way out and make sure it's competitive and that's what we're trying to do. I'm pretty positive we'll do well, but of course, the economy is difficult at the moment."