Maersk, freight forwarders and shippers adapt to Damco dissolution

For global shipping, the new year without one of the regular players. After Maersk announced in September it would dissolve the Damco freight forwarder brand by the end of 2020, it has disappeared from the field. Maersk absorbed Damco's air and ocean less-than-container-load shipping to combine it with Maersk’s logistics and services products.

The Copenhagen-based conglomerate's portfolio now boasts air forwarding and LCL in addition to existing services in ocean transport, trucking, customs brokerage, warehousing and port terminals.

Maersk CEO Søren Skou has pursued an end-to-end logistics strategy for years, acquiring customs brokers, investing in digital tools like Loadsmart and developing platforms such as Maersk Flow and Twill. Maersk marketed the internalization of Damco services using words such as "simplified," "agile," "seamless" and with fewer "handoffs."

Andrew Sisto, director of corporate development at project44 and former manager at Maersk, described the internalization of Damco as "a natural fit."

Damco move blurs lines between forwarder and carrier
"It's very hard for shippers, and also forwarders, to differentiate," said Nowroth, who formerly held roles at DB Schenker and Maersk. "Am I dealing now with a freight forwarder? Or am I dealing with a shipping company?"

Shippers face a choice as they plan their freight strategies: the simplicity of a single end-to-end provider versus the reduced risk of a diversified carrier network.

"Shippers can take a call on what sort of service they want and whether they might be willing to pay extra for an end-to-end service from a single provider," Chris Rogers, lead supply chain analyst at S&P Global-owned Panjiva told supplychaindive.com. "Am I dealing now with a freight forwarder? Or am I dealing with a shipping company?"


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