Thursday, January 9, 2014

Container Shipping Giant Splits Off US and Caribbean Freight Services Under an Old Flag

A Name Memorable to Many in Forwarding is Resurrected by Maersk as More Sales Go Ahead
Shipping News Feature

THE AMERICAS – DENMARK – BELGIUM – Maersk Line has resurrected an old name which many in the freight forwarding community with be familiar with, SeaLand, having just formed a regional, container shipping company dedicated to the intra-Americas market with operations officially commencing January 1, 2015. SeaLand will be targeting the North, Central, and South American regions as well as the Caribbean, to meet the needs of local customers. Maersk Line's existing Intra-Americas service network will be the foundation of SeaLand's ocean product portfolio.

The original company, Sea-Land Service Incorporated was formed right at the start of the containerisation revolution by the legendary ‘father’ of the system, Malcolm (or Malcom as he preferred) McClean, in 1960. After changing hands several times Maersk bought the international services in 1999 and the domestic sector continues to trade but under the Horizon Line brand. Maersk Sealand reverted to Maersk Line in 2006. Now, with a slight change of lettering (capital L and no hyphen) the name, which still appears on the side of many Maersk boxes, is officially back. Robbert Van Trooijen, Chief Executive, Maersk Line Latin America and Caribbean commented:

"This new Intra-Americas commitment will meet the needs of Latin American customers that ask for local, customer specialists that are empowered to act quickly and respond to changes in the market. We have a long history in this region that will set the foundation for future growth."

Maersk Line will begin the transition of their Intra-Americas business to SeaLand in a phased approach throughout 2014. The newly established team of approximately 240 personnel will begin their new roles by July 1 this year. SeaLand, which will have a structure similar to some of Maersk’s other regional carriers, will be led by Maersk Line veteran, Craig Mygatt, who will serve as CEO. The company will unsurprisingly be headquartered in the United States with the exact location to be determined, but which will presumably ensure complicity with American legislation in some areas. SeaLand will share specific Maersk Line operational services, such as finance, land-side operations, and HR. Craig Mygatt, CEO, SeaLand said:

"We heard from our customers that they value Maersk Line services but they required greater service stability and commitment. That's one of the key reasons why we're responding with an improved, restructured solution for the Intra-Americas. We look forward to developing strong, enduring customer relationships as the new SeaLand organisation."

Meanwhile in other Maersk news, Belgium headquartered independent tanker company Euronav is to acquire 15 VLCC’s from Maersk Tankers Singapore for a total of $980 million. A.P. Møller-Mærsk is obviously gathering together capital as it remodels the group with both this sale and its recent divestment of the Dansk Supermarked Group.