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Flush with cash, Maersk makes next American acquisition

Revealing bumper record profits, A.P. Moller – Maersk today announced the acquisition of an American logistics provider.

The Danish transport giant is paying $1.68bn for Pilot Freight Services, a US-based first, middle and last mile as well as border crossing solutions provider, specialising in the big and bulky freight segment in North America for B2C and B2B distribution models. Maersk is buying Pilot from ATL Partners, a sector-focused private equity firm in New York and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), one of the largest institutional investors in Canada.

Long-term container contracts now represent 65% of Maersk’s ocean business

“With the intended acquisition of Pilot, Maersk will extend its integrated logistics offering deeper into the supply chain of its customers,” Maersk stated in a release, saying Pilot would complement earlier acquisitions already made to provide integrated logistics solutions in North America, especially with Performance Team, a B2B warehousing and distribution firm and Visible SCM, an e-commerce warehousing and parcel distribution company.

“Pilot will be adding specific new services within the fast growing big and bulky e-commerce segment, thus increasing cross-selling opportunities,” Maersk explained.

Pilot operates a North American facilities-based transportation network of 87 stations and hubs through which freight is transported and distributed to end customers. The company uses mainly third party providers of trucking and has access to controlled capacity. Pilot bought American Linehaul Corporation last year, giving it expertise in middle mile, LTL expedited capabilities.

“By investing in first mile, middle mile and last middle and integrating them we meet a clear customer demand,” said Narin Phol, regional managing director at Maersk North America.

Maersk, the world’s second largest containerline, announced record earnings for 2021 today. Revenue was up 55% to $61.8bn, EBITDA tripled to $24bn and free cash flow was $16.5bn.

Among many statistics revealed by Maersk today, long-term container contracts now represent 65% of Maersk’s ocean business, up from 50% a year ago.

Maersk said it expects the current market situation to continue into Q2 2022 with a “normalisation” to occur early in the second half of the year. The company is forecasting an underlying EBITDA of $24bn for the full year 2022, just like 2021’s final result.

“Ocean is expected to grow in line with global container demand, which is expected to grow 2-4 pct. in 2022, subject to high uncertainties related to the current congestion, network disruptions and demand patterns,” Maersk stated in a release.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Was it not in 2014 or 2015 that Soren Skou said he wanted to concentrate Maersk business on short-term contracts?
    How times change.

  2. “Pilot will be adding specific new services within the fast growing big and bulky e-commerce segment, thus increasing cross-selling opportunities,” Maersk explained.”

    What does that mean in plain English?

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