Time to look at Intra-Americas trade again
May 13, 2014 - LM Editorial
With so much attention now being placed on trade agreements with the EU and in the transpacific, shippers may wish to take a fresh look at what one leading ocean cargo carrier is doing within the parameters of the existing North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Starting early next year, the resurrected U.S. carrier, SeaLand, will be coming back under the auspices of Maersk Line to serve existing Intra-Americas service network. This will also shift the logistics weight to the Caribbean Basin in anticipation of the Panama Canal expansion. SeaLand was aquired by Maersk Line in October 1999.
“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,” says Vincent Clerc, chief trade & marketing officer, Maersk Line.
Analysts say that the Caribbean Basin Partnership Act – which was broadened more than a decade ago – may eventually be replaced by a “Free Trade Area of the Americas” act.
Russell Held, Director of Economic Development for The Port of Virginia, and a former SeaLand executive, says the trend for near-shoring is gaining traction – with a great focus on ocean carrier reliability.”
Indeed, Maersk Line’s existing Intra-Americas service network will be the foundation for SeaLand. Industry analysts contend that the new U.S. subsidiary will have similar structure to Maersk Line’s other regional carriers – including intra-Asia carrier MCC Transport and intra-European carrier Seago Line.
SeaLand will feature local sales and support personnel located in North, Central, and South America, as well as the Caribbean, to service customers throughout the region.
The new, independent unit will officially start operating next January. Meanwhile, Maersk will begin the transition of its Intra-Americas business to SeaLand in a phased approach throughout the remainder of this year.
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