A fall in ocean-going container volumes by 4% in the last three months of the year was more than offset by freight rates improving 80% compared with a year earlier.
"The strong result in the quarter reflects the continuation of the exceptional market situation within (the) Ocean (division) caused by global disruptions to supply chains, which have led to further increase in container freight rates," Maersk said in a statement.
Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) totalled $8 billion, above guidance given by the company in November and the $7 billion expected by analysts in a Refinitiv poll.
Revenue stood at $18.5 billion, against $17.5 billion expected by analysts.
The company will publish full financial results on Feb. 9.
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by David Goodman)