This week, there is additional information coming forward after Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk’s announced acquisition of container shipping line Hamburg Sud.

Financial and industry news sources are reporting comments from Maersk CEO Soren Skou at an investor conference this week which indicate a strategy that positions Maersk Line to become a global integrator of container logistics.

As noted in our prior Supply Chain Matters postings regarding Maersk, parent A.P. Moller-Maersk announced in September that it would split its current business operations into two separate operating businesses. Maersk Line, the world’s most dominant ocean container carrier would be the center point for a new container transport and logistics division that will consist of other owned businesses such as APM Terminals, Damco and Maersk Container Industry businesses. Its energy focused division that includes crude and bulk tankers as well as oil exploration businesses would exist as a standalone energy business.

At this week’s briefing, plans were disclosed to route ships in and out of APM Terminals and move more cargo inland via use of its DAMCO logistics unit. The plan calls for added revenues from integrated logistics services to offset lost revenues from the energy division.

The implication of such a strategy would be increased competition for existing freight brokers, third-party logistics or management services providers such as FedEx and UPS. Maersk would also have to re-think its customer services strategies with such a move, since that has not been one of its strengths as a global leader in shipping. We foresee a lot of added technology investment.

We further wonder aloud as to how much global maritime regulators are willing to approve such a strategy that impinges on open competition for logistics services. If the dominant ocean container shipping line can exercise such a strategy, then other lines or shipping networks will obviously follow.

Obviously, there will be more to come as the Maersk strategy continues to unfold. The one certain thing is that consolidation and pending change will continue to permeate the global transportation landscape in 2017, and perhaps beyond.

Bob Ferrari

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