© Reuters. FILE LOGO: Maersk’s logo is seen on top of a building at Zona Franca in Barcelona, ​​Spain, November 3, 2022. REUTERS/Albert Gea

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -Shipping group AP Moller-Maersk on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter earnings slightly below expectations and forecast a 2023 core profit significantly below last year’s as volumes and freight rates fall.

The company said in a statement it expected underlying earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) between $8 billion and $11 billion this year, compared with $36.8 billion last year.

“Guidance for 2023 is based on the expectation that inventory correction will be completed by the end of the first half leading to a more balanced demand environment,” it said.

Underlying EBITDA stood at $6.52 billion in the fourth quarter compared with $7.99 billion a year ago and a 6.95 billion forecast by analysts in a poll gathered by the company.

Revenues fell slightly to $17.8 billion in the period as the number of containers loaded on to ships fell by 14%.