Maersk cuts jobs
Crew members look out from the world's largest container ship, the MV Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, in Singapore, Sept. 27, 2013. Reuters/Edgar Su

Global freight carrier Maersk Line announced major reductions in capacity and said it would cut 4,000 jobs to cope with the continued drop in demand for container shipping and falling freight rates.

The Danish company, which lowered its forecast for the year last week, said it would make the job cuts by the end of 2017 and defer buying new vessels to defend its dominant position in the falling market.

“We are fewer people today than a year ago. We will be fewer next year and the following year. These decisions are not taken lightly, but they are necessary steps to transform our industry,” CEO Søren Skou said, indicating that the latest round of layoffs may not be the last.

The company expects to save around $250 million in administrative costs over two years after the downsizing. Maersk has been in a process of cutting its shipping routes between Asia and Europe amid declining factory outputs and falling container rates.

Freight rates for transporting standard containers from Asia to northern Europe were $233 last week -- widely considered to be a loss-making level, according to the Guardian.

The move comes after the company said in October that it would shed about 12 percent of its workforce of its global oil unit.

Shares in the company were trading up 3.26 percent on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.