When the world turned global, so did Maersk.
From its beginnings in Svendborg, Denmark in 1904, Maersk has developed its business into today’s 130 countries. The impact where its roots lie is still significant, although not as obvious as its global presence.
Maersk Group has strong ties to Denmark, employing more than 6,000 people full time and with 43% of the fleet under the Danish flag. It is also one of the largest tax contributors in its home country, paying DKK 6.2 billion in Denmark in 2013, the majority related to North Sea oil and gas operations, and representing about a third of the Group’s global bill, according to Maersk data.
When the world turned global, so did Maersk.
There is a visible presence in the Maersk Oil operations in the Danish part of the North Sea, the headquarters on Copenhagen’s waterfront and the bustling container terminal in Aarhus. In numbers, the Maersk Group contributed 2.5% of the country’s total gross domestic product in 2012, according to data compiled by the research company Last Mile and based on information from Statistics Denmark and Maersk. This equates to the cost of the Fehmarn tunnel that will link Denmark to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
The impact comes in many other forms for Danes in their everyday lives. To identify these, one must take a journey around the country for a closer look.
Sheep’s wool on Triple-E – Ebeltoft, Jutland
Many useful items can be made from sheep’s wool. An oil filter is not the first that springs to mind, but GreenOil, a small engineering company based in Ebeltoft, found it worked well because it has a rougher surface than the synthetic fibre commonly used.
GreenOil is now one of a dozen Danish suppliers delivering highly specialised systems and components for Maersk’s giant Triple-E ships. It was founded ten years ago with the aim of making a better offline filter for vessels, first removing particles and then water from the oil to make it almost as good as new.
“By collaborating with Maersk, we have developed our product range rapidly. And we are more focused, because we are collaborating with a partner that has extensive knowledge within this field, and that has testing facilities in their vessels that we might not find elsewhere,” says CEO Hans Lund.
500 additional local jobs – Kerteminde, Funen
The shipyard at Lindø no longer turns out Maersk container ships, but is now a bustling industrial park that houses companies working in the offshore industry, a transformation in which Maersk invested DKK 200 million.
Five of Maersk Drilling’s rigs have come into Danish yards since 2011, each with a significant local economic impact. When the Mærsk Gallant came into Lindø for a three-month stay in 2014, it created 500 additional local jobs.
“Many of the people working in the area today are old shipyard people who know each other,” says Søren Rask, the industrial park’s security manager. “This is a little village. We are all one big family. We help each other. Evidently we are competitors, but we can still help each other out if it’s needed.”
Bright minds – Lyngby, Sealand
Marcel Somers, a professor in materials and surface engineering at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), had given little thought to the oil and gas industry before the Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre opened in 2014.
While keeping his old job, Somers now also handles recruitment for the centre, which is looking for bright minds to develop new ideas and technologies to extend the productive lifetime of oil and gas production facilities. With funding of DKK 1 billion from the Danish Underground Consortium (DUC), it is one of more than ten projects that Maersk has with Danish universities.
A longer lifespan for North Sea oil and gas production means more tax money for the Danish state and greater security of energy supply, while the centre should offer students opportunities in an area that they may not otherwise have considered, Somers explains.
“You do not read so much about oil and gas in the Danish press – before I came into this world, I wasn’t aware of how much was going on,” Somers says.
“This will give students an opportunity to think about a career in oil and gas,” he adds.
“These young people, who are very enthusiastic, curious and have mad ideas – some of which are really good ideas – are what makes life worth living at a university.”
One million kilometres – Aarhus, Jutland
Bjarne Johansen steers his truck between containers waiting to be loaded for export from the terminal at Aarhus, one of the continent’s most productive ports and located directly on the world’s busiest trade route between Europe and the Far East.
Johansen’s father was a truck driver, as was his grandfather before him. He has just replaced his truck, after driving the previous one around one million kilometres in five years, delivering pork from the Danish Crown abattoir to the APM Terminals facility.
“I was born in a truck, I think,” Johansen says. “I drive back and forth all day. It’s 700 kilometres every day, so I drive about 3,500 kilometres every week.” As he drives into the terminal and past containers, a Maersk Line vessel waits under the cranes to be loaded with goods. The terminal handles 50% of Denmark’s container exports, including machinery, instruments, grain and other food products.
“The ship is waiting,” Johansen says.
“Maybe it is waiting for me, you never know. My small container doesn’t take up a lot of space on that large ship.”