Maersk Line

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Maersk Line
Industry Container shipping
Founded 1928
Headquarters Copenhagen, Denmark
Area served
Key people
Soren Skou (CEO)
Revenue US$26.19 billion (2013)
Owner A.P. Moller-Maersk Group.
Number of employees
23,000 (2015)

Maersk Line is the global container division and the largest operating unit of the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group, a Danish business conglomerate. It is the world's largest container shipping company having customers through 374 offices in 116 countries. It employs approximately 7,000 sea farers and approximately 25,000 land-based people.[1][2] Maersk Line operates over 600 vessels and has a capacity of 2.6 million TEU.[3] The company was founded in 1928.[4]


At the beginning of the 1920s, A.P. Moller considered possibilities of going into liner trade business. The tramp trade, where vessels sailed from port to port depending on the demand, was expected to lose ground to liners in time. On 12 July 1928, the vessel LEISE MÆRSK left Baltimore on its first voyage from the American East Coast via the Panama Canal to the Far East and back. The cargo consisted of Ford car parts and other general cargo. This heralded the start of Maersk's shipping services. Maersk Line began to grow in 1946 after the Second World War by transporting goods between America and Europe before expanding services in 1950. On 26 April 1956, ocean-borne container transport was introduced with the shipment of a Sea-Land container aboard the IDEAL X from Port Newark, New Jersey, to Houston, Texas. In 1967, Anglo carrier P&O was part of the first European initiative, a pooling of liner services from four companies, into the new company Overseas Containers Limited (OCL). Both Sea-land and P&O would later be taken over by Maersk Line as it expanded operations between 1999 and 2005. [5]

In 1999, Maersk entered into an agreement on acquisition of Safmarine Container Lines (SCL) and its related liner activities from South African Marine Corporation Limited (Safmarine). At the time of acquisition, Safmarine Container Lines operated approximately 50 liner vessels and a fleet of about 80,000 containers. It covered a total of ten trades and fully complemented Maersk Line’s existing network. Safmarine Container Lines joined the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group as an independent unit with its own liner activities.

On 10 December 1999, the A.P. Moller Group acquired the international container business of Sea-Land Service Inc. The business was integrated with the A.P. Moller Group companies and as part of the integration, Maersk Line changed its name to Maersk Sealand. The acquisition comprised 70 vessels, almost 200,000 containers as well as terminals, offices and agencies around the world.

In May 2005 Maersk announced plans to purchase P&O Nedlloyd [6] for 2.3 billion euros.[7] At the time of the acquisition, P&O Nedlloyd had 6% of the global industry market share, and Maersk-Sealand had 12%. The combined company would be about 18% of world market share. Maersk completed the buyout of the company on 13 August 2005, Royal P&O Nedlloyd shares terminated trading on 5 September. In February 2006, the new combined entity adopted the name "Mærsk Line"

The Willemswerf building, the former Nedlloyd and P&O Nedlloyd corporate headquarters in Rotterdam. Currently the home of Maersk Lines' European operations.

At the time the company was folded into A.P. Moller, it owned and chartered a fleet of over 160 vessels. Its container fleet, consisting of owned and leased vessels, had a capacity of 635,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). Royal P&O Nedlloyd N.V. had 13,000 employees in 146 countries.

By the end of 2006, Maersk global market share had fallen from 18.2% to 16.8%, at the same time, the next two largest carriers increased their market share, MSC went from 8.6% to 9.5% and CMA CGM from 5.6% to 6.5%.[8][9][10] In January 2008, Maersk Line announced drastic reorganisational measures.[11]

In November 2015, after lower than expected results, Maersk Line announced its decision to lay off 4000 employees by 2017. The group said it would cut its annual administration costs by $250 million over the next two years and would cancel 35 scheduled voyages in the fourth quarter of 2015 on top of four regularly scheduled sailings it canceled earlier in the year. [12]

As of October 2015, Maersk Line along with its subsidiaries of Seago, MCC, Safmarine and Sea-Land controls a combined 18% share of the total container shipping market. [13]


As of July 2011 Maersk Line fleet comprises more than 600 vessels and a number of containers corresponding to more than 3.8 million TEU (Twenty-foot equivalent unit)[14]

In 2006, the largest container ship in the world to date, the E-class vessel Emma Maersk, was delivered to Maersk Line from Odense Steel Shipyard.[15]

Seven other sister ships have since been built, and in 2011, Maersk ordered 20 even larger container ships from Daewoo, the Triple E class, each with a capacity of 18,000 containers. The first of these Triple E Class ships was delivered on June 14, 2013 and was christened with the name Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller after the founder of the Maersk Line.[16]


In 2011-12, Maersk Line cooperated with the US Navy on testing 7-100% algae biofuel on the Maersk Kalmar.[17][18] From 2007-2014, and mainly due to slow steaming, Maersk Line reduced its CO2 emissions by 40% or 11 million tonnes, about the same reduction as the rest of Denmark.[19]


Maersk Line is best known for its coverage across the globe. Other than its main trade lanes of Asia-Europe and Trans-Atlantic trades, Maersk Line also offers extensive coverage between South America and Europe as well as to Africa. The company also pioneered the innovative concept of Daily Maersk which provided a daily service between supply ports of China to European base ports on a daily basis. Despite support from the trade, Maersk Line was forced to cut down on the product due to over supply of capcity. Recent restructuring of its product have included upgrades to their Asia - Australia, India to West Africa, and China to America routes. [20] [21] [22] [23] Other than the main trades, Maersk Line also operates many continental trade lines. It operates its Intra South East Asia through MCC Container Lines, Europe through Seago Lines and recently re-launched the famous Sea-Land Service brand for its intra-Americas trade lanes. [24]


On December 19, 2011, it was announced that Søren Skou will take over as CEO of Maersk Line from Eivind Kolding, effective from 16 January 2012.[25][26]

The management board, led by Søren Skou, is responsible for the daily management, and the members are (as of January 2015):[27]

  • Søren Skou, Chief Executive Officer
  • Stephen Richard Schueler, Chief Commercial Officer
  • Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer
  • Jakob Stausholm, Chief Strategy, Finance & Transformation Officer
  • Vincent Clerc, Chief Trade & Marketing Officer
  • Michael Chivers, Head of Human Resources

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Alphaliner – Top 100 Operated Fleets As Per 25 September 2012". Alphaliner. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ Flemming, Emily Hansen (September 25, 2012). "Maersk To Cut Capacity and Raise Rates". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Company Facts and Information". Maersk Line. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ "About Us - Milestones". Maersk Line. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  5. ^ "A Ride On Maersk Line". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  6. ^ MacAlister, Terry (2005-05-10). "Maersk and Nedlloyd in bid talks". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  7. ^ [1] Notes of the P&O Nedlloyd shareholder meeting 27 July 2005
  8. ^ Urquhart, Donald. "Maersk Line's market share declines in 2006" - The Business Times - Marshall Cavendish - 29 January 07
  9. ^ "Liner Shipping Report" - AXS-Alphaliner - January 2007 - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)
  10. ^ Kennedy, Frank. "Shipowners order new vessels worth record $105.5b in 2006" - Gulf News - 12/02/2007
  11. ^ [2] Interview with CEO December 2007
  12. ^ "Maersk Line to Cut 4,000 Jobs as Market Deteriorates". Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "A Ride On Maersk Line". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  14. ^ Maersk Line Facts on
  15. ^ "Maersk Line". Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Maersk and the Navy Join Hands for Biofuels Testing
  18. ^ Geiver, Luke. [3] BioRefining Magazine, 21 November 2011. Accessed: 13 December 2011.
  19. ^ Nielsen, Jakob (6 April 2015). "Maersk vil sejle længere på literen" [Maersk goes further on the gallon]. Politiken. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  20. ^ "Mesawa From Maersk Line". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  21. ^ "Maersk Line Upgrades Servvice". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  22. ^ "Daily Maersk". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  23. ^ "Reliability Data". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  24. ^ "SeaLand: A famous name returns to the seas". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  25. ^ Bloomberg: "Danske Bank Names Chairman Kolding CEO"
  26. ^ Announcement December 19, 2011: "Søren Skou will take up the position as CEO of Maersk Line"
  27. ^ Management on


External links[edit]