The world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk, expects tight market conditions in maritime transport to continue until the fourth quarter of 2021. Container shipments by boat are estimated to represent more than 80 percent of intercontinental trade. Maersk pointed out that global demand for container shipments is now expected to grow by 5-7 percent in 2021 compared with a previous forecast of 3-5 percent, primarily driven by exports from China to the U.S. The Danish company noted that its average freight rates increased by 35 percent in the first quarter compared to the previous year. It added that the “exceptional market situation” is expected to continue ”well into the fourth quarter of 2021.” In a preliminary statement, Maersk reported underlying operating income (Ebit) of around $3.1 billion on revenues of $12.4 billion for the first quarter of 2021, and upgraded its guidance for the full year, predicting Ebit of $9-11 billion – up from a previous forecast of $4.3-6.3 billion – on revenues of $13-15 billion. While warning about the volatility of the demand, it said that its own “continued strong performance is mainly driven by the continuation of the exceptional market situation with surging demand leading to bottlenecks in the supply chain and equipment (containers) shortage.”