Chief Executive Soeren Skou says that the group's results in its key ocean business was "unsatisfactory" in the short term. The group posted a $239 million deficit.
Skou added that the Copenhagen-based group was implementing a number of short-term initiatives to improve profitability in the hopes of making more this year than in 2017, when profit was $356 million.
Thursday's earnings were the first to include the acquisition of German container shipping company Hamburg Sud.
Maersk shares dropped nearly 9 percent to 9,244 kroner in morning trading in Copenhagen.
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