Monday, October 3, 2011

Container Line Shipping Giant Announces Liner Freight Office Redundancies

Safmarine Brand Will Remain as Maersk Acts
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – As everybody in the container freight industry knows, the A P Moller Maersk subsidiary Safmarine continues to operate independently whilst often sharing routes and cargo services with Maersk Line. Now economy of scale has demanded that the smaller box line sees its management and internal support functions integrated into the offices of its big sister.

Safmarine of course is a very long established name, particularly in the African market, so whilst the Safmarine head quarters are intended to close, the brand will be kept in the Maersk Liner Business portfolio. The ever pressing need to rein in costs is something which management at Maersk recognise and the drive for economy and efficiency has led them to the decision. Eivind Kolding, CEO Maersk Liner Business, regrets the loss of trusted colleagues but is convinced the move will consolidate the company’s strengths saying:

"We are sad to have to consider losing some very strong colleagues, who have made an important contribution to the company and helped change the way we think about shipping. All changes are subject to consultation and we are working with our employees to find a fair outcome for everyone affected.

"It is our clear intention to strengthen the Safmarine brand. Over its long history it has become a force to be reckoned within its markets, and customers value its distinctive approach to deep and lasting relationships. It has proven that a close focus on a particular approach can deliver stronger customer service and this is core to our mission of redefining shipping.”

The revision involves the closure of Safmarine's Antwerp head office and regional offices in Antwerp, Shanghai, Dubai, Cape Town, and Mumbai, along with centre support functions currently carried out in Singapore and Cape Town. This will potentially affect 240 people in those locations. Cuts will run right throughout the business with current CEO, Tomas Dyrbye, leaving his position with a successor to be announced shortly.

The Multi Purpose Vessel business of Safmarine will be unaffected by the integration and continue to be developed from its base in Antwerp. Safmarine currently operates alongside Maersk Line as a fully independent shipowner and shipping line serving Africa, the Middle East and India, and management says this move will reduce the core costs of running both businesses.

Throughout 2011 Maersk Liner Business has pursued a strategy of differentiating itself from its competitors and realises that customers value different aspects in different trades. As well as Safmarine it operates regional brands in Europe (SeaGoLine) and Asia (MCC).

Photo: The MV South African Merchant launched December 1955 as the first vessel, in the now sixty strong fleet, known then as the South African Marine Corporation.