AP Moller-Maersk has reported a profit of $4.2bn for the first nine months of 2010, a dramatic turnaround from the $700m loss it reported during the same period in 2009.

The Danish shipping company’s revenue increased by 17% to $41.4bn, boosted by higher freight rates for its container shipping activities.

The firm’s container shipping segment reported a profit of $2.2bn compared with a loss of $1.5bn during the same period last year, triggered by a 34% increase in average freight rates and a 7% increase in shipment volume.

Maersk Tankers reported a loss of $103m in the first nine months of 2010 compared with a loss of $193m.

The Copenhagen-based group raised its full year profit outlook and expects to reach a profit of $5bn this year.