Maersk carries out major restructuring

Maersk is carrying out a major reorganisation aimed at “streamlining” the organisation, which is said to have nothing to do with Covid-19. The Danish group reports this in an advisory to its customers.

Maersk confirms that the Safmarine brand is definitively disappearing and that Damco is once again being reformed, which means that the shipping company is actually being closed down.

‘Safmarine will be integrated into the Maersk brand. We recognise the long history of passion and best practice in customer centricity experienced by Safmarine customers and want to add this in Maersk for the benefit of all our customers,’ states Maersk in the communication to its customers. The South African shipping company was taken over more than twenty years ago and, with some 1200 people, still partly operates under its own name.


About Damco the group says that all of its airfreight and groupage activities will be integrated into Maersk’s logistics and services portfolio. In a somewhat cryptic sense, the group states that it will ‘not pursue the Ocean FCL Multi-carrier product (NVOCC) as a general offering.’

According to analysts in the market, this will put an end to the sea and air freight activities under the name Damco and is the deathblow for the company, which was already curtailed two years ago by the parent holding company. Only the Chinese air freight subsidiary and wholesaler NTS remains, but it already operated independently from Damco. NTS mainly focuses on air freight charters between China and North America.

Hamburg Süd

Maersk also reports that the previously acquired shipping companies Hamburg Süd and Aliança continue to exist as independent brands. But they too are not escaping the reorganisation, as the company says it will be ‘simplifying [the] back office organisational structure and processes to enable faster and more effective decision-making.’

According to ShippingWatch, the intended reorganisation is independent of the corona crisis, but stems from the ambition of top executive Søren Skou, who took office four years ago, to structurally raise the results and share price. Neither has really been accomplished so far. Skou constantly insists that Maersk must continuously improve efficiency.

This article first appeared in Dutch on Nieuwsblad Transport, a publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.