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Safmarine and Damco brands go in latest Maersk reshuffle

In further sweeping changes at A.P. Moller-Maersk, Damco will disappear as an NVOCC, while the Safmarine brand, the African shipping line acquired by Maersk in 1999, is to be phased out and subsumed into the Maersk product.

Elsewhere, the regional functions such as pricing, finance and human resources at Hamburg Sud, a line Maersk bought in 2017, will all be absorbed into the Maersk organisation.

Job cuts at Damco, Safmarine and Hamburg Sud are expected to be substantial.

Damco, which can trace its roots back to to 1905, became a part of the A.P. Møller-Mærsk Group 15 years ago with their acquisition of P&O Nedlloyd.

The value proposition of Maersk can be greatly enhanced with the expansion of multiple modes of transport

As of January last year Damco’s Supply Chain Services and Maersk Line’s Ocean Product were integrated and their respective services were combined and sold as Maersk products and services, while Damco’s freight forwarding business continued to be run as a separate and independent business under the Damco brand.

“[I]t has become apparent through close customer engagements that the value proposition of Maersk can be greatly enhanced with the expansion of multiple modes of transport,” Maersk stated in a release today, explaining the rationale for the Damco decision.

On the Safmarine news, Vincent Clerc, CEO of Ocean & Logistics at A.P. Moller – Maersk, said, “I’m very excited to have Safmarine’s passion for customers closer to Maersk by uniting our teams.”

Founded in 1946 in Cape Town, Safmarine and its fleet of white-hulled boxships are an iconic name in African shipping.

The Safmarine and Damco brands will no longer be marketed by the end of 2020.

Under Soren Skou, who became the CEO of A.P. Møller – Mærsk just over four years ago, the group has changed dramatically with the Maersk brand taking primacy. Skou first moved to offload oil and gas assets to focus on the container side of the business. He has then axed other brands within the group. Regional carrier brands including intra-Asia line MCC Transport, Americas specialist SeaLand and intra-European player Seago Line were rebranded in 2018 as SeaLand – A Maersk Company.

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. I wonder if the people who will be losing their jobs in this reshuffle will be just as excited as Vincent Clerc??
    Not much empathy for employees in that company.

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