Maersk Sells Container Manufacturing Business as China Solidifies Lead

Maersk sells container manufacturer to Chinese
Maersk is selling its container manufacturing business (Maersk)

Published Sep 28, 2021 3:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

A.P. Moller – Maersk is selling its container manufacturing operation to China International Marine Containers Ltd. in a transaction designed to support both company’s long-term strategic plans. Maersk is focusing on its transportation and logistics business, while China is consolidating its lead as the sole manufacturer of cargo containers.

China International Marine Containers Ltd. (CIMC), headquartered in Shenzhen, China, agreed to acquire Maersk Container Industry. The transaction, which values the company at $987.3 million on a cash and debt free basis, is for the entire organization and assets, including the reefer factory in Qingdao, China, and R&D and test engineering facilities in Denmark. The transaction is expected to close in or before 2022.

“While strengthening the synergies between the core businesses of our global integrator offering, we have reviewed the strategic fit of MCI and decided to find a new home for MCI that can ensure that the company continues to grow its reefer business through continued development and committed investments from a new owner,” said Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands in A.P. Moller - Maersk. “We have had a close relationship with CIMC for more than 30 years and we look forward to continue that partnership.”

Founded by Maersk in 1991, MCI over the years transformed into a business focusing entirely on manufacturing refrigerated containers. CIMC says that it wants to continue MCI’s trajectory of increasing sales and investing in new product development. 

CIMC Containers is specialized in the manufacture of dry containers, refrigerated containers, and special containers. In recent years, CIMC is investing in its operation into cold chain and MCI will be part of a new product line within marine reefer units to complement the existing product portfolio, including reefer boxes.

China has been focusing on solidifying its leadership in container manufacturing with the government encouraging the companies to grow their operations. The ministries of Transportation and Industry and Information Technology have been working since 2020 with the container industry to increase output. China reports it is making a record 500,000 containers a month, up from 200,000 previously, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation. Sun Wenjian told a gathering of the major shipping companies that China has also built a stockpile of 400,000 containers.

The efforts to expand container manufacturing were in response to the global shortage of boxes. According to the Chinese officials, the number of companies experiencing a shortage of boxes has declined while there remain temporary shortages in some ports. They are urging the industry and ports to work together to further alleviate shortages.