The Safmarine and Damco brands will cease to operate by the end of 2020, as A.P. Møller - Mærsk reorganises its ocean and logistics activities.

Safmarine will be integrated into Maersk, while Damco’s air and less than container load (LCL) offering will be combined with the shipping company’s logistics and services products.

The changes, according to Maersk, will improve customer experience and end-to-end service delivery. The company added that it represents a major step towards becoming an integrated container transport and logistics company, which connects and simplify customers’ supply chains.

Vincent Clerc, ceo of ocean and logistics at A.P. Møller - Mærsk, said: “With the integration of Safmarine, we can present Safmarine customers with the full ocean and supply chain offering and more scale.”

With regard to Damco, Clerc added: “Businesses need air and LCL products to connect their supply chains, and with these offerings firmly placed in our global integrated portfolio, we aim to serve our businesses better and more efficiently across their supply chains.”

As part of the reorganisation, Maersk will also simplify the structure of its ocean and logistics division. As a result, the back offices of Maersk and Hamburg Süd will come closer together into customer-centric teams, but will continue to operate as two separate brands.

This latest move from Maersk follows CMA CGM’s announcement that it will retire the APL brand on the transpacific trade from October 2020 as part of its efforts to optimise its operations, deliver a more streamlined customer experience and improve its services offering.

From October 1, CMA CGM will be the sole commercial carrier of the group operating in the transpacific trade. “APL, a long-time service partner for the US government, will focus on its service to the US government through its fleet of US-flagged vessels to solidify and enhance the group’s specialisation in this key business segment,” said CMA CGM.

Industry commentators have suggested that these developments signal the end of large carriers having a multi-brand strategy on the major trade lanes. Lars Jensen, ceo of SeaIntelligence Consulting, commented: “If this is indeed a sign of the times to come, it of course raises the question as to not only the long-term future of the Hamburg Süd brand, but also – perhaps more interestingly – COSCO’s long term plans with OOCL.”