Maersk is Starting Branded Air Cargo to Expand its Logistics Offering

Maersk launches air cargo operation
Maersk will be using Boeing 767-300 planes as part of its branded air cargo service (Maersk)

Published Apr 8, 2022 2:32 PM by The Maritime Executive

A.P. Moller – Maersk is launching a branded air cargo company as its main air freight offering as the company seeks to continue to its drive becoming an integrated logistics provider. The new Maersk Air Cargo will consolidate the company’s existing in-house aircraft operator, Star Air, with the goal of using the company’s owned and chartered airplanes to transport approximately one-third of Maersk’s annual air tonnage.

The new air freight company will be based at Denmark’s second-largest airport, Billund, as its air freight hub operating daily flights. The structure for the air cargo operation will replicate the ocean fleet using a combination of owned and leased aircraft. Additional capacity will be provided by strategic commercial carriers and charter flight operators.

Expected to be fully operational by the second half of 2022, Maersk Air Cargo will progressively deploy and operate a controlled capacity of five aircraft – two new B777F and three leased B767-300 cargo aircraft. Three new B767-300 freighters will also be added to the U.S.-China operation, which will be initially handled by a third-party operator. The new aircrafts are expected to become operational between 2022 and 2024.

“Air freight is a crucial enabler of flexibility and agility in global supply chains as it allows our customers to tackle time-critical supply chain challenges and provides transport mode options for high-value cargo,” said Aymeric Chandavoine, Global Head of Logistics and Services, A.P. Moller – Maersk. 

According to the company, Maersk’s owned controlled capacity, powered by Maersk Air Cargo, is designed to make supply chain journeys more resilient and intuitive. As a standalone service, Maersk Air Freight can help customers make the most of opportunities by getting their air cargo to the right place at the right time. When combined with the ocean, inland, warehousing and customs services, it provides another key link in Maersk’s strategy to be a global integrated logistics provider.

“Maersk Air Cargo is an important step of the Maersk Air Freight strategy, as it will allow us to offer customers a truly unique combination of air freight integrated with other transport modes. We see an increased and continued demand for air cargo both today and going forward as well as a growing demand for end-to-end logistics, why it is important for us to strengthen our own-controlled capacity and advance further on our air freight strategy,” says Torben Bengtsson, Global Head of Air & LCL at A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Maersk announces its intention to strengthen its air freight services in November 2021 with the acquisition of Germany-based Senator International, a freight forwarding company with a strong air freight offering. The company said it would also purchase two new B777F and lease three B767-300 cargo planes using its internal air cargo operation Star Air to operate and manage the added capacity. Star Air, established in 1987, they said would purchase two new B777 Freighters to be delivered by Boeing in 2024 and lease three B767-300 Freighters, which would be operational in 2022 through Cargo Aircraft Management, the leasing arm of ATSG.

The move by Maersk to launch a branded air cargo operation follows a similar move by France’sCMA CGM. Launched in February 2021, CMA CGM Air Cargo has a modern fleet of four Airbus A330-200F, which will be completed by two Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, starting in spring 2022. With a carrying capacity of more than 100 metric tons and a range of nearly 9,000 kilometers, CMA CGM said the addition of the two Boeing planes would enable them to strengthen their long-haul offer, to better meet the needs of customers.