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Coordinates: 55°41′14.81″N 12°35′53.28″E / 55.6874472°N 12.5981333°E / 55.6874472; 12.5981333

A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S
Nasdaq CopenhagenMAERSK A, MAERSK B
IndustryFreight transport
PredecessorGolden Frigate Shipping Co.
Fowler & Fowler Shipping Co.
Founded1904; 117 years ago (1904)
FoundersArnold Peter Møller
Peter Mærsk Møller
HeadquartersCopenhagen, Denmark
Key people
Søren Skou (Group CEO)
Claus V. Hemmingsen (Group Vice CEO)
ProductsContainer shipping and terminals, logistics and freight forwarding, ferry and tanker transport, semi-submersible drilling rigs and FPSOs, oil and gas exploration and production, shipyards, store retail
RevenueUS$ 39.7 billion (2020)
US$ 7.7 billion (2020)[1]
US$ 2.85 Billion (2020)[1]
Total assetsUS$ 56.117 billion (2020)"MAERSKB:DC".
Total equityUS$ 30.8 billion (2020)[2]
OwnerMøller family (69.92% voting power)
Number of employees
83,000 (2020)[3]
A Maersk Line 40ft container being lifted by a crane.

A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S (pronounced [ˈɛˀ ˈpʰe̝ˀ mølɐˈmɛɐ̯sk]), also known simply as Maersk (/mɛərsk/),[4] is a Danish integrated shipping company, active in ocean and inland freight transportation and associated services, such as supply chain management and port operation.[5] Maersk has been the largest container shipping line and vessel operator in the world since 1996.[6] The company is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, with subsidiaries and offices across 130 countries and around 83,000 employees worldwide in 2020.[7][8]

It is a publicly-traded family business, as the company is controlled by the namesake Møller family through holding companies.[9] In September 2016, Maersk Group announced that it was splitting into two separate divisions: Transport & Logistics, and Energy.[10] The company's 2018 annual revenue was US$39 billion (2019).[11] In the 2020 Forbes Global 2000, Møller-Maersk was ranked as the 622nd -largest public company in the world.[12]


Dampskibsselskabet Svendborg (Danish for 'Svendborg Steamship Company') was founded in Svendborg in April 1904 by captain Peter Mærsk Møller (1836–1927) and his son Arnold Peter (A. P.) Møller (1876–1965). A. P. Møller had four children, all by his first wife Chastine Estelle Roberta Mc-Kinney. Their second child was (Arnold) Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller (1913–2012), who became a partner in 1939 and head of the firm upon his father's death. In 1993, he was succeeded as CEO by Jess Søderberg. He continued as chairman until December 2003, at which point he was 90 years of age and Michael Pram Rasmussen took over. Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller was until his death one of the "managing owners" of the company and was chairman of Odense Steel Shipyard until 2 May 2006.[13]

In 2017, the company was one of the main victims of the NotPetya ransom malware attack, which severely disrupted its operation for several months.[14]

In 2021, the company bought 8 carbon-neutral ships for £1bn.[15][16][17]

In August 2021, Maersk joined the BEC Low-Carbon Charter.[18][19]


The SS Laura in 1886 in Svendborg, Denmark

P. M. Møller (1836–1927), who was a deeply religious Christian, attached a blue banner with a white seven pointed star on both sides of the black chimney on the steamship Laura when his wife recovered from illness. In a letter to his wife, P. M. Møller explained in October 1886, "The little star on the chimney is a memory of the night when I prayed for you and asked for a sign: If a star would appear in the gray and cloudy sky, it would mean that the Lord answers prayers." The same star later became the emblem of the Maersk Group.[20]

A.P. Moller–Maersk is structured into two main business segments: transport & logistics and energy. These two branches include several subsidiaries such as container shipping and related activities; APM Terminals; tankers, training, offshore and other shipping activities; oil and gas activities; retail activity; and shipyards, other industrial companies, interest in Danske Bank, etc.[13][21]

"Container shipping and related activities" is the largest business area for A.P. Moller–Maersk, providing almost half of the group's revenue in 2008. It comprises worldwide container services, logistics and forwarding and terminal activities under the brand names: Maersk Line, Safmarine, and Damco.[22] Since 1996, Mærsk has been the largest container shipping company in the world.[6]

Transport and logistics[edit]


Mærsk Kalamata in Seattle harbor
Eleonora Mærsk, one of the E-class vessels

The largest operating unit in A. P. Moller–Maersk by revenue and staff (around 25,000 employees in 2012)[23] is Maersk Line. In 2013, the company described itself as the world's largest overseas cargo carrier and operated over 600 vessels with 3.8 million[24] twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container capacity. As of January 2021, as the largest container fleet, it held 17% of the global TEU.[25]

In 2006, the largest container ship in the world to that date, the E-class vessel Emma Maersk, was delivered to Maersk Line from Odense Steel Shipyard.[26] Since, seven other sister ships have since been built, and on 21 February 2011 Maersk ordered ten even larger container ships from Daewoo, the Triple E class, each with a capacity of 18,000 containers. The first were delivered in 2013.[27] There was an option for 10–20 more,[28][29][30] and in June 2011, Maersk placed a follow-on order for a second batch of ten sister ships (to the same design with the same shipyard), but cancelled its option for a third batch of ten.

As of February 2010, Maersk had an order book for new ships totalling 857000TEU (including options on the Triple E class); that backlog is larger than the existing fleet of the fourth-largest line, Evergreen Line.[6]

Maersk Line cooperated with the United States Navy on testing 7–100% algae biofuel on the Maersk Kalmar in December 2011.[31][32]

In January 2012, Søren Skou took over as CEO of Maersk Line from Eivind Kolding.[33][34] Later that year, the company ceased its business in Iran in order to prevent potential damage to the company's business with Western countries, particularly the US, due to the sanctions regime led by those countries.[35][36]

APM Terminals[edit]

APM Terminals at Portsmouth, Virginia, United States

A. P. Moller–Maersk's independent APM Terminals business unit with its separate headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, operates a Global Port, Terminal and Inland Services Network with interests in 57 ports and container terminals in 36 countries on five continents, as well as 155 Inland Services operations in 48 countries. Port and Terminal Operations include:

Maersk Container Industry[edit]

Svitzer Bootle assisting Mærsk Newcastle on the River Thames

Maersk Container Industry A/S: Container manufacturing with factories in China (Dongguan and Qingdao) and headquarters in Denmark (Tinglev).[13]

Container Inland Services: Includes: depots, equipment repair, trucking, container sales and related activity.[13]


Svitzer was founded in 1833 and has a fleet of over 400 tugs, line handlers and other vessels. The company provides harbour and terminal towage services in over 100 ports and 20 oil and gas terminals across the globe.[37]


Damco is the combined brand of the Maersk Group's logistics activities previously known as Maersk Logistics and Damco.[22] Damco has 10,800 employees in offices in more than 93 countries.[22] and is involved in supply chain management and freight forwarding all over the world. Damco is the eighth largest freight forwarding company in the world.


Maersk Oil[edit]

Maersk Oil (Danish: Mærsk Olie og Gas A/S) was established in 1962[38] when Maersk was awarded a concession for oil and gas exploration and production in the Danish sector of the North Sea. Maersk Oil is engaged in the exploration for and production of oil and gas in many parts of the world. Total oil production is more than 600,000 barrels per day (95,000 m³/d) and gas production is up to some 1 billion cubic feet (28,000,000 m³) per day. Most of this production is from the North Sea, from both the Danish and British sectors, but there is also production in offshore Qatar, in Algeria and in Kazakhstan.

In addition to the above-mentioned producing sites, Maersk Oil is involved in exploration activities in Danish, British, Dutch and Norwegian sectors of the North Sea, Qatar, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Angola, Gulf of Mexico (US sector), Turkmenistan, Oman, Morocco, Brazil, Colombia and Suriname. Most of these activities are not 100% owned but are via membership in a consortium. The company developed production techniques especially suited to difficult environments (The North Sea, etc.) and for drilling techniques that extract oil from problematic underground conditions.

Oil and gas activities provided A .P. Moller – Maersk with 22% of its revenue and 68% of its profit in 2008.[22] On 21 August 2017, A. P. Møller - Mærsk A/S announced the signing of an agreement to sell Mærsk Olie og Gas A/S to Total S.A. for US$7.45 billion in a combined share and debt transaction.[39] The transaction was subject to regulatory and competition approval and was closed on 8 March 2018,[40] when Maersk Oil became a part of Total.

Maersk Drilling[edit]

Maersk Drilling supports global oil and gas production by providing high-efficiency drilling services to oil companies around the world.[41] The company owns 24 rigs and its fleet consists of six Ultra-Harsh jack-ups, four XL Enhanced jack-ups (including one new build which is set for delivery in late 2016), four Harsh jack-ups, two Premium jack-up, four semi-submersibles and four Ultra deepwater drillships.[41] Maersk Drilling is among others a market leader in the Norwegian jack-up market with a market share of 7 out of 12 rig As of 2016.

Maersk Supply Service[edit]

Maersk Supply Service provides anchor handling, towage of drilling rigs and platforms as well as supply service to the offshore industry. By 2021, the fleet consists of 41 vessels including anchor handling tug supply vessels (AHTS), subsea support vessels (SSV) and platform supply vessels (PSV).[42]


Maersk Line, Limited[edit]

Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) is a US-based subsidiary of A.P. Moller–Maersk Group which owns and operates a fleet of US-flag vessels providing the U.S. Federal Government and their contractors with multimodal transportation and logistics services. A Virginia-based organization, MLL manages the world's largest fleet of internationally trading US-flagged vessels.

Maersk Line has been involved in Department of Justice Investigations and paid fines in 2012.[43]

MCC Transport[edit]

MCC Transport hosts containerized cargo services in the Intra-Asia market. The company was later renamed Sealand-Asia.

Safmarine Nokwanda

Seago Line[edit]

Seago Line is a subsidiary shipping line which serves ports in the Mediterranean region.[44] The company is now Sealand- Europe and Mediterranean.


Safmarine is an independently operated shipping company in the A. P. Moller–Maersk Group with roots in Africa. It operates a fleet of more than 40 container vessels and more than 20 multi purpose vessels (MPVs).[45] The company has five container vessels and four MPVs on order for delivery in 2009–2011.[needs update][46] In September 2020, it was announced that the Safmarine brand will be integrated into Maersk.[47]

Sealand- A Maersk Company[edit]

SeaLand - A Maersk Company, is an American regional maritime and logistics operator, that offers intermodal services in between North, Central and South America, and after the renaming of both MCC Transport and Seago Lines, in the European, Mediterranean, and Intra-Asian markets. It has been part of A. P. Moller - Maersk since 1999.

Maersk Global Service Center[edit]

Maersk GSC operates shared service centres that handle back office, off-shore activities for AP Moller Maersk Group. GSCs are located in Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Chengdu, and Metro Manila.

Tankers, offshore and other shipping activities[edit]

Tankers, offshore and other shipping activities" was responsible for 8.8% of Maersk's revenue in 2008, and posted 25% of the group's profit for this period. The business segment comprises Maersk Tankers, Maersk Supply Service, Maersk Drilling, Maersk FPSOs, Maersk LNG and Svitzer.[22]


Ardent Salvage, a joint operating salvage company formed after the merger between Maersk-operated Svitzer and Crowley-operated TITAN Salvage, is involved in towage, salvage, wreck removal, marine firefighting and other offshore support and is represented in more than 100 ports worldwide. Ardent is based in Houston, Texas.[48]

Bust in Copenhagen

Retail activity[edit]

The company formerly owned a stake in Dansk Supermarked Group which operates stores under the brands: Bilka (hypermarket), Føtex (supermarket, department store), Salling (department store) and Netto (discount supermarket).[22]

Maersk Training[edit]

Maersk Training provides specialist training to specific industries. The 2010 merger of Maersk Training Centre and Svitzer Safety Services broadened a portfolio of courses to include the maritime, oil and gas, terminals, and wind power industries.

With Headquarters in Svendborg, the MT Group global locations include Aberdeen and Newcastle in the UK, Esbjerg in Denmark, Stavanger in Norway, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Chennai & Mumbai in India, Kuala Lampur in Malaysia.[49] New centres include Houston, United States and Dubai, United Arab Emirates which is also the Middle Eastern hub.

Star Air[edit]

Star Air operates 11 leased Boeing 767 cargo aircraft, primarily engaged in long-term contract flying for United Parcel Service (UPS) in Europe.[22] The Maersk corporate aircraft, a Gulfstream 450, is also operated by Star Air.

European Rail Shuttle B.V.[edit]

In August 2013 Freightliner Group announce the acquisition of leading European intermodal rail operator and railway undertaking ERS Railways B.V. from Maersk Line. ERS Railways B.V. is a railway transport company headquartered in Rotterdam, providing cargo transport, mostly ISO shipping containers.

World Robot Olympiad[edit]

World Robot Olympiad is a robotic competition headquartered in Singapore. Maersk Oil is currently a Gold sponsor of this event.

Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping[edit]

A group of leading industry players are taking the next step to develop new fuel types and technologies by launching the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.[50]


Maersk Alabama as seen from a P-3C Orion Aircraft during its 2009 hijacking.

On the morning of 8 April 2009 the 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama was en route to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was hijacked by pirates off the Somali coast. The company confirmed that the US-flagged vessel had 20 US nationals on board. This was the first time that the US had to deal with a situation in which Americans were aboard a ship seized by pirates in over 200 years. By noon, the Americans were able to resist the pirates and regain control of the ship. However, the pirates retreated on a covered life boat and held the captain hostage for four days. On 12 April 2009, it was confirmed that the captain held hostage was freed by the US Navy, whose SEAL sharpshooters killed three of the pirates. A fourth pirate surrendered earlier due to a medical injury. These events were subsequently dramatized in the 2013 film Captain Phillips, directed by Paul Greengrass, starring Tom Hanks in the titular role.

Maersk Line estimated that piracy costs the company $100 million per year due to longer routes and higher speed, particularly near East Africa.[51]

As of 2010, all 83 Maersk tankers were diverting around the Cape of Good Hope south of Africa instead of going through the Suez Canal,[52] although Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, the first of the Triple E-class vessels, successfully navigated the Suez during her maiden voyage.


Labor practices in El Salvador and China[edit]

Trade unions and labor rights organizations have criticized Maersk's labor practices in different parts of the world.

In El Salvador, Maersk has been accused of maintaining abusive conditions for port drivers. Charges include excessively long shifts, minimal wages and the repression of freedom of association by running union-busting campaigns, including firing and blacklisting at least 100 drivers in 2001.[53][54]

Globalization Monitor, a labor rights group based in Hong Kong, has reported poor labor conditions in Maersk facilities in Dongguan and Qingdao, China. In January and May 2008, respectively, two riots reportedly broke out amongst workers at the Maersk plant in Dongguan in protest of poor working conditions and employment terms. In April 2011, Globalization Monitor stated, "Maersk's plants in China are still far from satisfactory as long as labor and human rights are concerned."[55] This although Danish news articles already in November 2009 brought results from a report made by an external work environment consultant Crecea which stated that the environment on the Maersk factory in Dongguan was above average in China.[56]

Overcharging allegations of US Government in Iraq and Afghanistan[edit]

In response to a complaint from whistleblower Jerry H. Brown II, the US Government filed suit against Maersk for overcharging for shipments to US forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a settlement announced on 3 January 2012, the company agreed to pay $31.9 million in fines and interest, but made no admission of wrongdoing. Brown was entitled to $3.6 million of the settlement.[57]

Business with Sudan[edit]

In August 2010, the US government fined Maersk $3.1 million for violating its embargo on Sudan. "Maersk had a waiver from the US government to deliver US Food Aid into Sudan so the US-flagged ship was in Port Sudan to deliver humanitarian aid," a U.S. government spokesman said, but "the booking systems did not identify cargo that was coming on and off the ship and that could be of violation of the embargo". The US government imposed a trade embargo on Sudan in 1997 due to human rights violations linked to the civil war between the north and south of the African country, and also because of the regime's alleged support of international terrorist groups.[58]

Business with Iran[edit]

In July 2010, the advocacy group originally highlighted Maersk's ties to a blacklisted Iranian company, Tidewater Middle East Co. The firm suspended operations at several Iranian ports owned by Tidewater Middle East Co. Maersk operates in other Bangladeshi ports and also diverted shipments to Dubai, partnering with other Bangladeshi companies that are not bound by U.S. sanctions.[59][60]

On 28 April 2015, the Marshall Islands-flagged container ship Maersk Tigris, which was not owned by Maersk,[61] was travelling westbound through the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval patrol boats contacted the ship, and directed it to proceed into Iranian territorial waters, according to a spokesman for the US Defense Department. When the ship's master declined, one of the Iranian craft fired shots across the bridge of Maersk Tigris. The master complied and proceeded into Iranian waters near Larak Island. The US Navy sent aircraft and a destroyer, USS Farragut, to monitor the situation.[62]

Maersk stated they have agreed to pay an Iranian company $163,000 over a dispute about ten container boxes transported to Dubai in 2005. The court ruling allegedly ordered a fine of $3.6 million.[63]

NotPetya malware attack[edit]

On 27 June 2017 Maersk IT systems were the victim of a malware attack which was designed to appear to be a ransomware attack. The cyberattack was perpetrated by the Russian military cyberorganization, the GRU, and designed to attack Ukraine, but in fact almost destroyed Maersk Shipping, the largest shipper of containers in the world. Wired magazine described the malware attack as the 'Most Devastating Cyberattack in History.'[64] In March 2020 Maersk revealed they would be terminating the employment and outsourcing the work of the UK based IT team that helped them successfully fend off and recover from the ransomware attack that shut down operations.[65]

See also[edit]



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  • Lotte Folke Kaarsholm, Cavling Prize recipient Charlotte Aagaard (Information) and Osama Al-Habahbeh (Al-Jazeera in Denmark): Iraqi Port Weathers Danish Storm, CorpWatch, 31/1/2006.
  • Hahn-Pedersen, Morten (1999). A.P. Møller and the Danish Oil. Albertslund, Denmark: Schultz Information. ISBN 8760904658.
  • Hornby, Ove (1988). "With constant care": A.P. Møller: Shipowner 1876-1965. Copenhagen: J. H. Schultz Grafisk. ISBN 9788756923583.
  • Jensen, Christian; Kristiansen, Tomas; Nielsen, Karl Erik (2000). Krigens købmænd: det hemmelige opgør med Riffelsyndikatet, A.P. Möller, Novo og den øvrige storindustri efter Anden verdenskrig [The Merchants of War: the secret showdown with Riffelsyndikatet, AP Möller, Novo and the other industrial giants after the Second World War] (in Danish) (2nd ed.). København: Gyldendal. ISBN 8700469742.
  • Lambek, Bjørn; Benson, Peter Suppli; Ørskov, Stig (2006). Mærsk: manden og magten [Maersk: the man and power] (in Danish). København: Politiken Bøger. ISBN 9788756774161.
  • Larsen, Thomas; Mortensen, Finn (2011). Mærsk Mc-kinney Møller: The Danish Shipping Magnate - a personal portrait in interviews. Copenhagen: Gyldendal Business. ISBN 9788700788565.

External links[edit]