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New “Skipper” at the helm of MAERSK

New “Skipper” at the helm of MAERSK

AP Moller-Maersk has appointed company veteran Vincent Clerc as its new chief executive to lead the shipping giant through a period of slowing container demand.

Mr Clerc, 50, will take over from Soren Skou on January 1 at a time of rapid growth for Maersk as it seeks to develop its land-based logistics business while seeing freight rates in its core container shipping business plummet as a global recession looms.

“The strong tailwinds that benefited the supply chain industries during the pandemic are coming to an end,” Maersk chairman Robert Maersk Uggla told a press conference at the company’s headquarters in Copenhagen.

“I think it’s an advantage for the company to have some new energy in the CEO position, at a time when we can see turbulence on the horizon,” he said.

The change comes less than a year after Mr Uggla, the grandson of Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, the former Maersk head who transformed the group into an international conglomerate, was elected chairman of the board. Mr Uggla also heads the holding company that controls Maersk.

Mr Skou has overseen the group’s transformation from a conglomerate into an integrated logistics company, a process that included selling its oil and gas business to France’s TotalEnergies in 2017.

Mr Clerc, currently head of the group’s Ocean & Logistics business, said he will focus on keeping costs down at a time when Maersk has been buying up warehouses and distribution centres to offer an end-to-end transportation service rather than just container shipping.

“When we grow as fast as we have been, we want to be sure that we don’t end up with too-high costs,” he said.

Industry pundits expect that with the new leadership, MAERSK will in the near future be ‘adjusting’ how it has been engaging BCO’s and NVOCC’s and its recent foray into Airfreight.

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