1098 Copenhagen, Denmark
The Maersk Line has the distinction of being the largest container shipping company in the world. The company is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark and is part of the A.P. Moller Maersk Group, a Danish conglomerate that owns several businesses within the transportation and energy industries. The company began operations in 1904, and has been the world’s leading container-shipping operator in terms of shipments and overall capacity since 1996. It employs over 25,000 people worldwide, and recorded revenues of more than $27 billion in 2012.
World’s Largest Container Fleet
Maersk currently owns a fleet of over 600 vessels with a total carrying capacity of more than 4.2 million twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) containers. The vessels range in size from relatively small 1,068 TEU ships to massive carriers that are capable of hauling 15,500 TEU containers in a single trip. The company prides itself on offering the industry’s largest inventory of special purpose refrigerated containers, or reefers, for transporting food, drugs and other perishable items. As the largest container shipping company in the world, Maersk today ships close to 15 percent of the entire world’s container trade, by overall tonnage, each year.
The A.P. Moller Maersk Group’s U.S. headquarters is based in Madison, New Jersey. The company maintains close to 100 agency locations and employs over 3,000 people across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Central America. Originally, the U.S. operation was focused on providing container-shipping service between North America and the Far East. These days, however, Maersk USA provides a diverse range of services that include domestic transportation, inland trucking, freight consolidation, transportation logistics, and terminal and warehousing services.
The company is a logistics partner to several major U.S. automakers. Earlier this year, Maersk was recognized as a ‘Supplier of the Year’ by General Motors for its role in delivering automobile components and parts to GM plants around the world. The Maersk Line is fully compliant with the requirements of the U.S. Customs Trade-Partnership Against Terrorism (CT-PAT) initiative, and is licensed to transport a wide range of cargo, including dangerous goods, out of gauge cargo and special cargo.
Maersk has had to struggle a bit to remain profitable in recent years as the result of increasing competition and a worldwide economic recession. In 2012, Maersk recorded losses for most of the year, but managed to eke out a profit of about $400 million by year-end. Going forward, it expects business to rebound as demand for transportation services begins to increase in rapidly emerging markets such as China, according to a Maersk Line review in The Maritime Executive magazine.