When Damco’s  and Maersk Line’s Ocean Product are finally integrated On January 1st, 2019, A.P. Moller – hopes that will have “fewer touchpoints” and more comprehensive offerings.

Industry analysts have greeted the news with mixed forecasts, however. Cathy Morrow Roberson, president of Logistics Trends & Insights, says it augurs something of a trend.

“A bit simplistic perhaps but if one is keeping score,” she tells shippers in a newsletter, “digital forwarders seem to be taking the lead in the evolution of freight forwarding thanks to the recent announcements from Maersk.”

Evan Armstrong, president of the consultancy, Armstrong & Associates, was more circumspect, noting that the move comes as something of a surprise.

“We did not predict this move and in our opinion, it is a poor one strategically,” he says. “The 3PL operation should be separate from the ocean carrier to remain neutral. Now the focus will be on how Damco can support the carrier business to increase asset utilization, versus being focused on developing neutral solutions for supply chain customers.”

The integrated commercial organization will operate with one management team, one sales force, a fortified product organization and one “customer experience” unit, headed by Vincent Clerc, Chief Commercial Officer of Maersk.

“We are taking further steps in the transformation of our business on a structural level and how we go to market, enabling us to offer more solutions to our customers in a simpler way,” says Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk in the initial statement.

Damco’s freight forwarding business, which serves customers requiring air freight or multi-carrier options in ocean freight, will continue to be run as a separate and independent business under the Damco brand. By allowing Damco to focus fully on freight forwarding, A.P. Moller – Maersk aims to build a well performing and global freight forwarding business that can grow and prosper.

The announcement comes on the heels of another one that the company made earlier this month about changing the brand affiliation of its digital freight-forwarding product, Twill, from Damco to Maersk.

“Twill is Maersk’s future solution for small and medium-size enterprises and as such this does not change, and we will continue to develop Twill in line with our evolving customer needs,” Maersk spokesmen add.

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