© Rolandm |ap moller maersk
© Rolandm

Maersk has taken another step towards offering a complete logistics service, as the lines between carriers and forwarders continue to blur.

The news came as CMA CGM made a public tender offer on Tuesday of Sfr30 for the remaining 49.4% of Ceva Logistics it does not already own, making it a $1.65bn deal, which has been approved by the European Commission.

The Danish shipping line announced yesterday it had acquired Vandegrift, a US customs house brokerage (CHB) with 12 offices, headquartered in New Jersey. The acquisition would, reportedly, double Maersk’s CHB abilities.

Last year, Maersk folded parts of its Damco freight forwarding subsidiary into the shipping line, including its CHB product, according to one Loadstar Premium source, “leaving Damco as just a forwarder doing A to B” – a move the source described as “stupid”.

But the acquisition shows that Maersk is serious about its aim to become “an integrated container logistics company”, as it said CHB was “a key component in Maersk’s strategy”.

Klaus Rud Sejling, Maersk’s head of global logistics and services and former CEO of Damco, added: “Customers have been asking us to simplify the complexity of their global supply chains and reduce their risk, so we analysed the North America market to see who had the best reputation in the brokerage/trade compliance industry and deliver immediate results to all vertical segments of our account base.” 

As well as CHB, Vandegrift also specialises in trade compliance, with a team of former US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, as well as other staff with backgrounds in customs brokerage, retail and law. 

“Transport costs and trade compliance risk management are a strategic issue for our customers,” added Mr Sejling. “We believe we have an opportunity to better design a more holistic customs brokerage and trade compliance plan and overarching strategy for customers.” 

He said the move would enhance Maersk’s relationships with North American shippers and lead to “long-term success”.  

The terms of the deal, completed last Friday, were not disclosed. 

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