Danish giant AP Moller-Maersk is giving another bonus to workers this year, but the payout is unchanged from 2020 despite huge rises in earnings.

An internal memo seen by Oslo Borsen and Bloomberg revealed about 80,000 workers will pocket an extra $1,000 in December or January pay packets.

This means an outlay of $80m from likely pre-tax earnings of between $22bn and $23bn in container ship markets propelled by strong demand and port congestion.

The company's top 400 managers are not included in the scheme.

"In a massive team effort, our colleagues across the globe have risen beyond the call of duty to respond to our customers' needs," said chief executive Soren Skou in the note to staff.

"And this has not been easy given the unknowns and disruptions that we had to deal with, the impacted supply chains, congestions and capacity shortages," he added.

Underlying Ebit — operating profit — was up almost five times to $5.9bn in the third quarter, and revenue grew 68% to $16.6bn.

Two very different years

Analysts are predicting net profit for 2021 of more than $17bn.

Last year, Maersk also paid a $1,000 bonus to most employees when the company reported a profit of $2.9bn after losing money in three of the previous four years.

The 2020 award recognised the "exceptional" contribution of employees who showed "hard work and dedication" during a year hit by Covid-19, which initially decimated volumes and then saw them spring back in spectacular fashion.

A Maersk spokesman told TradeWinds the bonus has "absolutely no connection to revenue/profits".

"It is a special recognition of how our employees have kept the supply lines running in 2021," he said.

The group's regular bonus system is also not solely based on financial performance, the spokesman explained, but includes for example rewards for progress on the transformation of the company.

The group celebrated record third-quarter earnings this year by splashing out $644m on a takeover of German freight forwarder Senator International.