Those in the breakbulk industry expected for years that Maersk would announce a significant restructuring of its business this month. As with any highly anticipated announcement, rumors have circled around what would be Maersk’s next step.
This weeks announcement confirms what many analysts have speculated — that logistics unit Damco would merge with Maersk Line, renewing a focus on supply chain service offerings. While some analysts also expected Maersk to announce a realignment with APM Terminals, this division was not mentioned in the announcement.
In the past few years, A.P. Moller-Maersk has spun off and divested many of its oil businesses to concentrate instead on logistics.
“Logistics is a segment where we want to grow,” Vincent Clerc, the chief commercial officer for A.P. Moller-Maersk, told investors on a call last month. Clerc will head the integrated Maersk Line-Damco organization.
With the merging of the two divisions, “This is the next step in the Maersk journey to become a global, integrated container transport and logistics company,” the company said.
The realignment of Damco to focus only on freight forwarding comes at a time when supply chains are increasingly streamlined. Many shippers and carriers have sought to eliminate intermediaries such as distributors and freight forwarders in order to create a more transparent environment for their overall logistics as well as reducing the risk and increasing compliance.
Damco added Twill to its toolkit in April 2017, allowing it to compete with emerging digital freight forwarders. “We are sitting with a product … that is making [a customer’s] supply chain easier and faster,” Damco CEO Klaus Rud Sejling told Supply Chain Dive in an interview last year. Starting next year, Sejling will be Head of Maersk’s Logistics and Services Products, reporting to Clerc.
“A.P. Moller – Maersk aims to build a well-performing and global freight forwarding business that can grow and prosper,” the company said in this weeks announcement.