Maersk Line

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Maersk Line
IndustryContainer shipping
HeadquartersCopenhagen, Denmark
Area served
Key people
Søren Skou (CEO)
RevenueDecrease $31.18 billion (2015)
OwnerA.P. Moller-Maersk Group
Number of employees
31,600 (2018)

Maersk Line is a Danish international container shipping company and the largest operating subsidiary of the Maersk Group, a Danish business conglomerate. It is the world's largest container shipping company by both fleet size and cargo capacity, offering regular services to 374 ports in 116 countries. It employs approximately 31,600 where 7,000 of which are vessel crew and the other 24,600 are processing personnel.[1][2] Maersk Line operates over 786 vessels and has a total capacity of 4.1 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 SS 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 SeaLand 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 Line's 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 such as Seago, MCC, Safmarine and SeaLand, control a combined 18% share of the total container shipping market.[13]

Since 1 December 2017, Hamburg Süd has already been part of the company.


As of July 2011, the Maersk Line fleet comprises more than 700 vessels (with Hamburg Süd and Safmarine combined) and a multitude of containers corresponding to more than 3.8 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit)[14]

In 2006, the E-class vessel Emma Maersk, was delivered to Maersk Line from Odense Steel Shipyard. It was by far, the largest container ship in the world at the time.[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 son of the founder of the Maersk Line.[16]

The following ship classes are part of the Maersk Line fleet:

Container ship classes of Maersk Line
Ship class Built Container Capacity (TEU) Ships in class Length Width Draft Installed Power
Triple E-class Gen.2 2015-2019 20 568 11 399 m 58.6 m 16.5 m 2x 26 325 kW
Triple E-class Gen.1 2012-2015 18 270 20 399 m 59 m 14.5 m 2x 29 680 kW
H-class 2015-2019 15 226 11 353 m 53.5 m 15 m 54 960 kW
E-class 2006-2008 14 770 8 397 m 56 m 16 m 81 000 kW
Edinburgh-class 2010-2011 13 092 13 366.5 m 48.2 m 15.5 m 68 640 kW
M-class II 2007-2009 10 150 6 366.9 m 42.8 m 15 m 68 640 kW
G-class 2004-2006 9 024 6 367.3 m 42.8 m 14.5 m 68 640 kW
C-class 1999-2002 8 648 8 347 m 42.8 m 14.5 m 63 000 kW
A-class 2002-2004 8 272 6 352.3 m 42.8 m 15 m 63 000 kW
S-class 1997-2000 8 160 11 347 m 42.8 m 14.5 m 55 681 kW
V-class 2015-2019 3 596 7 200 m 35.2 m 11 m 17 279 kW
Total 11 798 107
Container ship classes no longer in service
Ship class Built Container Capacity (TEU) Ships in class Length Width Draft Installed Power
M-class I 1988-1991 4 300 12 294.1 m 32.2 m 13.5 m 38 190 kW
L-class I 1980-1983 3 016 7 269.8 m 32.2 m 13 m 34 571 kW
Regina Maersk-class 1995-? 6 000 318 m 42.8 m 14 m
Total 12


In 2011–12, Maersk Line cooperated with the US Navy on testing between 7 and 100% algae biofuel on 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 set a goal in December 2018 to be carbon neutral by 2050.[20] In 2017, the company's ships emitted 35.5 million tonnes of CO2e, and it hopes to eliminate that by using biofuels to power its fleet.[21]


Maersk Line is best known for its vast 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 in 2011 which provided a premium guaranteed service between supply ports of China and European base ports. Despite support from the trade, Maersk Line was forced to cut down services due to oversupply.[22][23] Recent restructuring of its products have included upgrades to their Asia to Australia, India to West Africa, and China to America routes.[24][25][26]

Other than those main trade routes, Maersk Line also operates many continental trade lines. It operates in its Intra-Asia route through MCC Transport, its European route through Seago Lines, and recently re-launched the famous Sea-Land Service brand for its American trade lanes.[27]

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. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2008-01-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Notes of the P&O Nedlloyd shareholder meeting 27 July 2005
  8. ^ Urquhart, Donald. "Maersk Line's market share declines in 2006" Archived 2008-03-11 at the Wayback Machine - The Business Times - Marshall Cavendish - 29 January 07
  9. ^ "Liner Shipping Report"[permanent dead link] - AXS-Alphaliner - January 2007 - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)
  10. ^ Kennedy, Frank. "Shipowners order new vessels worth record $105.5b in 2006" Archived 2007-02-18 at the Wayback Machine - Gulf News - 12/02/2007
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2008-01-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) 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. ^ [1]
  15. ^ "Maersk Line". Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Maersk and the Navy Join Hands for Biofuels Testing
  18. ^ Geiver, Luke. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2011-12-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) 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. ^ Maersk Line (2018-12-04). "Maersk sets net zero co2 emission target by 2050". Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  21. ^ Reuters (2018-12-05). "World's Largest Container Shipper Maersk aims to Be CO2-Neutral by 2050". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  22. ^ "Premium 'Daily Maersk' service abandoned". Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  23. ^ "Maersk Line enhances Daily Maersk offerings". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  24. ^ "Mesawa From Maersk Line". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  25. ^ "Maersk Line to launch first direct Thailand-Australia service". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  26. ^ "MOL trumps Maersk for reliability: but does arriving on time matter any more?". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  27. ^ "SeaLand: A famous name returns to the seas". Retrieved 26 October 2015.


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