Maersk to bring back SeaLand brand for new intra-Americas service

By Jeff Berman · January 9, 2014

Ocean shipping giant Maersk Line, a subsidiary of A.P. Moller Maersk Group, said this week it has established SeaLand, a regional, containerized shipping company focused on the intra-Americas market.

Maersk officials said that SeaLand will be comprised of knowledgeable, local sales and support personnel positioned in North, Central, and South America, as well as the Caribbean, to meet the unique needs of customers throughout the region, adding that this framework will provide greater flexibility and a higher-level of customer-focused service to these local markets. And they added that SeaLand will be similar in terms of structure to its other regional carriers, including intra-Asia carrier MCC Transport and intra-Europe carrier Seago Line.

Tim Simpson, director of marketing and communications for North America for Maersk Line and SeaLand, told LM there were multiple drivers for this endeavor.

“We are always looking at the network and looking at how we best serve our customers and also deliver the kind of results our shareholders want,” said Simpson. “Over the last year or so, there has been a team [at Maersk] internally looking at what would be a way to best serve this market. They went through some different scenarios and landed on the model that has worked for us—MCC, Seago, and Safmarine, too. We felt that would make sense for the intra-Americas market, based on what we hear from customers and shippers in that region.”

In the past Maersk Lines’ presence from Latin America up through North America has not had what Simpson described as a sense of permanency that customers and shippers in that market really value. And with Maersk Line’s diverse customer portfolio, ranging from several tens of thousands of containers per year to 100 or lower, it has a very vast east-west network running inside of Europe, trans-pacific and trans-Atlantic, Simpson said the objective is how to create a solution that keeps things organized and well-structured and running in a unified way while serving the needs of so many different markets.

And a lot of customers moving east-west in the intra-Americas region like retailers and manufacturers, he said, have supply chains that are built differently than a smaller manufacturer in a place like Guatemela.

“Given our size and global footprint in terms of our network, what has worked in multiple markets is creating this sort of sub-brand that can operate independently of Maersk Line, utilizing the same assets but operating independently so it can respond faster to the needs of customers in those markets,” he explained. “Previously in the Latin and North America market we have announced services and taken services out with not that much continuity, but with SeaLand we think we have a solution that is really going to work for us for this market. Customers have told us we are not ‘all in’ in this market and that they want a supplier that is focused on being there and delivering for them.”

In terms of services provided by the new SeaLand, Simpson said the plan is to take the existing network Maersk Line has and put it under the ownership of SeaLand, effective January 1, 2015, with Craig Mygatt serving as CEO. At that point, it will assess what types of other ways it can additionally serve customers, with that rationalization process taking place throughout 2014. The plan, he noted, is to move its ocean products under the ownership of SeaLand, with difference being in how they are managed, with things “closer to home” and not be managed in multiple continents.

With a U.S. headquarters in a location to be determined, Simpson said SeaLand will have a greater opportunity to be more nimble and more flexible in helping customers. He did note the headquarters might be based in the southern region of the U.S. on the Gulf coast or Atlantic coast.

And from a services side, he said it will provide the ability to have sales and customer service teams co-located in these markets, working with small-to-mid-sized customer that results in a higher level of personalization from a service perspective, better relationships, and being consultative toward customer supply chains.

“This reorganization is an investment in our global container business.  It enhances and strengthens service in this important and growing trade region, as well as the future of our overall global service network,” said Vincent Clerc, chief trade & marketing officer, Maersk Line, in a statement.


About the Author

Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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