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Today’s trade is global. Since the first sea-borne container transport took place in 1956, the shipping and logistics industry has been one of the main facilitators of the globalisation of trade.

A few examples to illustrate the tremendous developments:

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First generation container cranes moving cargo on board ADRIAN MÆRSK in 1975.

In 1970, Oakland on the United States west coast was the top container port in the world. A total of 336,364 TEU were shipped through the port that year.

In 2000, Oakland was number 30 on the list and Shanghai was number six.

In 2017, 40,233,000 TEU passed the gates of Shanghai, the top container port in the world.

Growth illustrated: 336,364 TEU is the capacity of 16 Triple-E vessels. 40,233,000 TEU is the capacity of 1,956 Triple-E vessels.

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15 years after opening our first office in Sri Lanka, partner Tommy Thomsen led the celebrations of the new and extended offices in 2007.

 

Since 1945 world trade has expanded on the traditional east-west trades, then north-south trades and more recently south-south trades. The Maersk Line organisation has evolved from offices in five countries in 1973 to a global player with offices across 125 countries, serving all major trade routes.

The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and shortly after, new opportunities arose in new markets. Shipping and logistics companies were the first to move in – to support our customers’ ambitions in a world of more free and open trade.

Growth illustrated: Maersk Line was in 40 countries in 1990 and in 100+ countries 10 years later. In average, new offices were opened in six new countries every year during the 1990’s.

 

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The early distribution centre where Mercantile (today’s DAMCO) started operations.

 

Because of the container and the barcode and developments in information technology and communication, a manufacturer in any part of the world can sell its brands on all markets.

Low-cost, efficient logistics and shipping has facilitated this development. The rise of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan and later the opening up of China to be “the factory of the world” are compelling examples of the development.

Growth illustrated: Taiwan and China did not feature on the Top 30 list of the largest container ports in 1970. Ten years later, Taiwan was number 14 and in 1990, Taiwan had two spots; number four and number 10. While Hong Kong has been prominently placed on the list since 1975, Shanghai was number 19 in 1995, moving to number 6 in 2000 and number 1 in 2010.

It is a great and fascinating story about the hidden enablers of world trade: the container, the barcode, the IT and the people.

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A mega ship in a mega port – over 40 million containers passed through Shanghai in 2017. 

Maersk Line 90 years

Maerskline has been in business for 90 years, from break-bulk to containers. The first voyage was on 12 July 1928. Explore the full story below.

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HOME

Part 1 – Beginnings

1928 saw the initiative that has evolved into today’s Maersk Line.
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PART 1 – BEGINNINGS

Part 2 – Expansion

Today, we connect all corners of the world and port calls happen several times every hour, but it all started with one route and monthly departures in 1928…
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PART 1 – BEGINNINGS

Part 3 – Container

Boxes for the transport of goods came in many forms before 1956, but it widely recognized that containerisation as a concept was initiated when Malcom McLean shipped 58 containers from Newark, New Jersey, on 26 April 1956.
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PART 1 – BEGINNINGS

Part 4 – Logistics

Maersk’s entry into logistics started in 1977, two years after the introduction of the containerized service on the USA-Asia route.
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PART 1 – BEGINNINGS

Part 5 – Special Cargo

Maersk Line has moved special cargo since well before the container was introduced and we still do.
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PART 1 – BEGINNINGS

Part 6 – IT and Systems

From the early 1980’s, MCS (Maersk Communications System) made it possible “to communicate globally.
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PART 1 – BEGINNINGS

Part 7 – Refrigerated Containers

Global reefer trade surpassed 221 million tonnes in the year 2016 with an annual growth rate of 3.2% over the past decade.
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PART 1 – BEGINNINGS

Part 8 – Terminals

In 2016, world container port throughput reached 701 million TEUs. With the top 40 container ports handling almost 60 percent of the world total.
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PART 1 – BEGINNINGS

Part 9 – Growth in the world economy

Today’s trade is global. Since the first sea-borne container transport took place in 1956, the shipping and logistics industry has been one of the main facilitators of the globalisation of trade.
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PART 1 – BEGINNINGS

Part 10 – Branding

The white seven-pointed star on a blue background has represented Maersk since its very formation in 1904. Along with our distinctive blue colour, terminals, vessels and containers across the world have been showcasing our name and logo since the very beginning.