Danish shipping-conglomerate Maersk announced plans this month to open a western hemisphere-specific containerized shipping company to better address their customers’ needs in the intra-Americas market. The new shipping company will be called SeaLand, and will build on the company’s proven experience in launching such specialized regional carriers such as MCC Transport in the intra-Asian market, and Seago Line for the intra-Europe market. The new carrier, which will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of A.P. Moller, will officially commence operations at the beginning of 2015.
Craig Mygatt, a Maersk Line veteran who will serve as CEO of the company, told LBC the new line was necessary to deliver better customer service to their clients. “We heard from our customers that they valued Maerk Line services, but they required great service stability and commitment,” said Mygatt. “SeaLand will allow Maersk to be more nimble, more flexible, and deliver better customer service to their client base in the hemisphere,” he said. The new company will feature knowledgeable, local sales, and support personnel in North, South, and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, to better address customers’ specific regional needs. “This move will allow us to do things for our customers that we couldn’t do before,” said Mygatt. The new team will begin work in July of this year.
“This transition doesn’t take place with a magic wand – it’s been a long time in the making,” he added. “Customers shouldn’t expect any hiccups as we transition to the new carrier.”
Mygatt highlights that the foundation of Maersk’s service in the Americas are small businesses, which ship in smaller volumes. “Our current east-west service are not nimble enough to address this trade, which highlights the importance of developing a specific north-south line,” said Mygatt.
Maersk experienced growth of 4.3 percent in the Americas last year, faster than the company’s overall global growth. For 2014, the company expects to see that number climb to 6 percent. The company faces a number of tailwinds in facilitating further growth in the region in the near future. “Increasingly companies are nearsourcing to the Americas – especially as an alternative to China, where wages are on the rise,” said Mygatt. “Companies want to get products made closer to where they sell. This plus the expansion of the Panama Canal are trends we have our eyes on.”
Mygatt is optimistic about the change. “This line will build successfully on Maersk’s other regional experience to bring our customers in the region a better shipping company, he said.” These sentiments were echoed by Maersk Line’s CEO for Latin America and the Caribbean Robert van Trooijen, who said “This new Intra-Americas commitment will meet the needs of Latin American customers that ask for local, customer specialists that are empowered to act quickly and respond to changes in the market. We have a long history in this region that will set the foundation for future growth.”