A.P. Moller-Maersk said on Tuesday it had abandoned a planned ship pooling network after China's Ministry of Commerce surprisingly announced it had not approved it.
The idea, known as P3 and announced last June, called for the company along with Swiss firm Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and France's CMA CGM to pool about 250 ships to cut costs.
"This is very negative for Maersk. They won't achieve about one billion dollars in cost savings, equivalent to 5-6 percent of unit costs," analyst Jacob Pedersen from Sydbank said.
Maersk shares closed down more than 5 percent on Tuesday.