Shipping company launches Maersk Air Cargo

AP Moller-Maersk on Friday renamed its Star Air subsidiary to Maersk Air Cargo, the Danish container shipping giant prioritizing integrated logistics offerings and selling air cargo services directly to customers under a single brand.

The company said Maersk Air Cargo will move its air cargo hub from Copenhagen to Denmark’s second-largest airport, Billund, and enter into a working agreement with the Flight Personnel Union to support the expansion of flight operations.

The reorganization is the latest step for Maersk to expand its air cargo business. In November, it agreed to acquire German freight forwarder Senator International for $644 million. Senator’s core business is the management of air cargo transportation for cargo owners. The purchase, which is expected to be completed in the first half, will double Maersk’s airfreight volume. Maersk also ordered two large 777 freighters from Boeing and purchased long-term service with three 767 freighters from Air Transport Services Group (NASDAQ:ATSG) in the United States.

Executives have set a goal of moving approximately one-third of the company’s annual air tonnage within its own controlled cargo network through a combination of owned and leased aircraft. The remaining capacity will be provided by commercial carriers and charter operators.

Maersk Air Cargo operates 15 Boeing 767 medium wide-body freighters, most of them converted passenger aircraft, for customers such as UPS (NYSE: UPS) and Royal Mail in the UK. On Thursday, he said the five new planes will be reserved for in-home business with freight forwarders. ATSG’s three 767-300 freighters will enter service in the second half of this year and will operate on US-China routes. The two factory-built 777s are expected to be delivered in 2024.

“Air freight is a crucial enabler of flexibility and agility in global supply chains, as it enables our customers to address pressing supply chain challenges and provides transportation mode options for freight. valuable. …Therefore, it is essential for Maersk to also increase our presence in the global air cargo industry by introducing Maersk Air Cargo to meet the needs of our customers even better,” said Aymeric Chandavoine, Global Head of Logistics and services of Maersk, in a press release.

Maersk offers standard air freight, air charter and sea-air services. The revamped airline is expected to be fully operational by the second half of the year following the arrival of Senator.

Capacity and logistics control

Airfreight is part of Maersk’s transformation from a pure ocean carrier to an end-to-end logistics company capable of providing a suite of services and keeping more of customers’ transportation spend for itself. keys. Depending on budget, distance, time and supply chain disruptions, Maersk, the world’s second largest container ship operator by capacity, can move cargo by sea, air, road and rail. , and provide warehousing and customs clearance. It is also investing in e-commerce delivery, including last month’s $1.8 billion deal for Pilot Freight Services.

The interest of maritime carriers in air freight is a mini-trend. Major French shipping company CMA CGM launched an all-cargo airline last year and now has five wide-body Airbus A330s. In November, it placed an order with Airbus for four A350 large freighters. CMA CGM also owns Ceva Logistics, one of the 15 largest logistics companies in the world in terms of gross turnover. In January, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and German airline Lufthansa made an offer for Italy’s ITA Airways.

Other shipping carriers that have a long history in air cargo are Taiwan-based Evergreen, which owns EVA Air, and Tokyo-based NYK Line, the parent company of Nippon Cargo Airlines.

Senator International has organized a large air charter network with around 20 weekly all-cargo flights operated by contracted carriers, such as Magma Aviation. Last year, it leased an airside warehouse at Chicago Rockford International Airport to handle cargo on its dedicated flights. It also operates a cargo facility at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina, which is gaining popularity as a cargo alternative to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

“Maersk Air Cargo is an important step in Maersk’s air cargo strategy, as it will allow us to offer our customers a truly unique combination of air cargo integrated with other modes of transport. We see an increased and continued demand for air freight both today and in the future, as well as an increasing demand for end-to-end logistics, which is why it is important for us to strengthen our own controlled capacity said Torben Bengtsson, Global Head of Air and Lower Container Load.

Click here for more articles on American Shipper/FreightWaves by Eric Kulisch.

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