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Eugen Maersk plays host to a few unplanned guests

115,550-TEU Eugen Maersk played host to five unexpected passengers before it arrived in Rotterdam port this week. 

The crew on board Eugen Maersk was surprised when they found five monkeys sitting on top of the containers, a couple of days upon departure from Tanjung Pelepas. The monkeys were mostly likely looking for land to go to, however, none was to be found as they were on a huge vessel in the middle of the sea. If only they knew that they were in fact being taken on a long cruise to Europe!

The primates came aboard Eugen Maersk while calling Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia (the PTP Terminal) on 1-2 August. They probably boarded the vessel with a container; it has been said that they may have been hiding behind the fan of a reefer container.

After the ship’s crew noticed them, they established a contact with Copenhagen Zoo. The crew sent the zoo authorities a few pictures of the primates to get more information on their type and food requirements. They were identified by the Copenhagen Zoo authorities as most likely to be long-tailed macaque monkeys. They were guessed to be including one older male, one younger male, likely two females and one youngster.2

After getting the instructions from the zoo authorities, the crew members succeeded in catching all the five monkeys in the next 4 days and were kept in a makeshift cage where they were offered food. Before calling Rotterdam, the vessel and Maersk Line in Rotterdam have been in contact with the authorities to determine quarantine requirements, etc. to best ensure their health and safety while they were aboard the ship.

The monkeys have been released to the authorities at the Dutch monkey foundation, ‘Stichting AAP’. Although it’s an occurrence that’s not so common, this is not the first time that a monkey has been stowed away on a Maersk ship. Back in 2011, a monkey was found on the 8,160-teu Skagen Maersk.


A voyage that lasts a lifetime!

Out of every 100 Maersk employees, five have been with the company for 20 or more years. Of our most tenured employees, nearly half are from Maersk Line. Meet Henrik Runebo, a former Maersk Line employee who retired after 40 years of service.

Henrik Runebo may have officially left Maersk in 2005, but Maersk has never left him. According to Runebo, “It is impossible to delete the company from your interior hard disk.”

Voyage1Life as a retiree

To this day, he enjoys getting together with colleagues he has known for decades and serves as a liaison between fellow retirees and the company’s Retiree Relations Department.

Referring to a retiree portal recently launched he says: “Having nursed ‘my pensioners’ for years on end, I enjoy seeing their names on the list, recalling their faces from my interior ‘hard disk’ and reminiscing the stories they have told me – and there have been some really funny ones I can tell you.”

The good old days

Throughout his career with Maersk Line which began in 1965, Runebo took on a range of roles that catered to seafarers’ welfare: from crew voy 3planning to the catering onboard vessels to dealing with illnesses onboard.

Looking back, Runebo recounts the moments that stood out for him: being seconded to Hong Kong, his promotion to General Manager of the Provisions Department (now the Catering Department), and an annual closing-of-the-books meeting with Mr. Møller.

Forty years strong

Asked about his commitment to Maersk, Runebo says, “You either like the smell in the bakery or you quit. So, I liked it.”

“Having been with Maersk for so long, you still follow, or try to follow, what is going on – good or not so good – and one can’t help feeling a bit proud of having belonged, and having seen the growth from conventional cargo vessels to fully automated super container vessels; from a few offices abroad, to the present ‘web’ of offices all over the world.”

v4He credits his longevity with Maersk to the flexibility of being able to change roles every four or five years (with the exception of the Provisions Department where he stayed for nine years), a genuine liking for his colleagues, particularly the seafarers of Maersk whom he says are “some of the most easy-going people I have ever met.”

Having worked with seafarers, Runebo adds that he had always been guided in the way he treated them by Mr. Møller’s saying: “We aim to treat our employees well and when they leave us; we want them to feel that they still belong to us – provided that they have left us in a decent way!”

NOTE: The availability of the Retiree Board and Retiree Portal is currently pending based on location.

*Data is based on all active Maersk Group employees (including contractors and temporary employees) registered in the myHR SAP system, which currently counts around 62,000 employees. For more information on Maersk’s global workforce, turn to page 17 of Maersk Post’s October 2013 edition

Mary Maersk sails from Algeciras with 17,603 TEUs, sets a world record!

A record has been set with a Triple-E vessel carrying the highest ever number of containers between Europe and Asia.

On Monday morning, 21 July, Mary Maersk left Algeciras, Spain on its eastward journey, bound for Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia. But this was not just any voyage. On board were no less than 17,603 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), the highest number ever loaded on a vessel.

Upgraded facilities for higher utilisation

The third vessel in the Triple-E series, Mary Maersk has a nominal capacity of 18,270 TEU, but so far that capacity has not been fully utilised. One prerequisite has been preparing the terminals for the added size, explains Carlos Arias, head of the South Europe Liner Operations Cluster.

“Algeciras has been preparing for full utilisation of the Triple-E for more than a year,” says Carlos. “This included the upgrading of four existing cranes and the arrival of four new Triple-E cranes.” He adds that the port of Tanjung Pelepas has had to make similar upgrades, and this was the first occasion where both ends were ready.

Having a full vessel means less cost due to higher utilisation. Carlos explains that moving more containers in one go allows the company to save on bunker and canal cost. A little more than half of the containers on board were empty, being repositioned for re-use in Asia.

Products for Asian consumers

Thorvald Hansen is captain on the Mary Maersk, and he tells us that the entire crew is proud of being part of a world record. “It feels very good,” he says, “and nice memories to look back on at a later stage.”

The full containers on board are loaded with a variety of products destined for Asian markets and consumers, says the captain. “We have Danish cheese, frozen pork meat from Denmark, frozen beef meat from Germany, frozen berries, chocolate and candy foodstuff, frozen fish, lobster and frozen shellfish, flower bulbs from the Netherlands, pharmaceutical products, fruits and much more.”

It has been smooth sailing on the eastbound voyage, Captain Hansen confirms. “We were a little excited to pass Suez with such a big load, but everything worked out as planned.”

According to Carlos, it will be a while before the feat can be repeated on an eastbound journey, but similar utilisations will soon be seen westbound.

Mary Maersk is now underway to its next stop, Yantian, China, with a somewhat lighter load, but by the end of the month it will be steaming west again, with another full load of cargo.

Author: Kenneth Mollerup Birch, Chief Editor, Maersk Line Communications

Going Paperless

Going paperless 1

Maersk Line in Vietnam leads the local industry on e-saviness. General Director Bich Nyugen believes that increasing productivity through technological transfer for companies is a major way of boosting Vietnam’s competitiveness. 

Each day, as thousands of containers are shipped back and forth by Maersk Line between Vietnam and the world, an unseen and even larger number of transactions are happening online. From documents to invoices and customs declarations, the ‘e-paperwork’ is endless.

But thanks to automated systems, acuracy, transparency and visbility of data can now be done in less than ten minutes (a booking that previously would have taken two hours). APL Logistics is a client of Maersk Line in Vietnam, and Export Team Leader Nguyen Francra Ninh says that she remembered that it took around two working hours or more to receive booking confirmation last year.

“Now it’s just five minutes for booking confirmation or 30 minutes at most,” Nguyen Francra Ninh says.

Last year, Maersk Line Vietnam shipped 9,412 FEU (forty-foot equivalent units) for this client.

In 2002, Maersk Line Vietnam began streamlining its e-booking, e-documentation, e-tracking and most other customer transactions. Paperless transactions have allowed for a move away from complex manual processes, focusing instead on improving customer experience. Maersk Line also recently conducted a local customer survey, which found that seven out of ten clients strongly believe that e-commerce is important to their businesses.

General Director of Maersk Line Vietnam and Cambodia, Bich Nguen, says Maersk saw the trend towards e-solutions and its sweeping benefits many years ago.

Going paperless 2

”And we knew it would transform not just the shipping industry, but also the business world, which is why we stayed ahead of the game with company-wide e-solutions practices before any of our competitors.”

A trend towards e-solutions

Vietnam’s internet penetration is high, relative to its urban population. Of Vietnam’s 90 million population, 36% use the Internet, and 32% live in urban areas. In line with these demographics are the findings of the Vietnam E-commerce Report, which found that the country’s e-commerce industry is booming, where 100% of business and enterprise survey respondents use Internet and  email for work, and 65% had specialised e-commerce staff.

What all this implies for Maersk Line is that clients with local offices here are well aware of its competitive edge when it comes to e-solutions offered in its services.

Nguyen Trang from Panalpina’s Europe documentation team for the European sector says: “It’s very impressive to see the improvement that Maersk Line has had in sending the bill draft to us, due to their faster system. It takes just around one hour, a very far cry from other carriers that require about half a day to do the same.”

“This fast service provides our customers with extra time to settle other matters pertaining to their shipments,” Trang adds.

Going paperless3

Fewer mistakes

Maersk Line’s Bich Nguyen says: “E- solutions mean less time, fewer mistakes and less, if not zero, additional costs being incurred due to documentation errors. As Vietnam seeks to compete in the world economy and trade in higher value-added goods under just-in-time productions, transaction speed and reliability of service will be key.”

She sums up as follows: “For businesses on the whole, e-solutions mean more opportunities, including increased productivity and savings, thereby attracting more investments. This is an exciting time for Vietnam if we focus on the right methods for driving competitiveness.”

By Tan Ti Hui for the Maersk Post

Slowing ships down for cleaner air and whale protection

A coalition of government, non-profit and marine industry groups have announced the launch of a new trial incentive program to slow ships down in the Santa Barbara Channel in an effort to reduce air pollution and increase protection of endangered whales.


Six global shipping companies, Maersk Line, COSCO, Hapag Lloyd, K Line, Matson, and United Arab Shipping Company are participating in the speed reduction incentive program from July through October. Selected ships in their fleets will reduce their speed to 12 knots or less (reduced from typical speeds of 14-18 knots) as they travel between Point Conception and the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Each company will receive $2,500 per participating vessel passing through the Santa Barbara Channel.

Ship strikes are a threat to recovering endangered whale populations. The ships also emit greenhouse gases and air pollutants, and account for more than 50 percent of ozone-forming nitrogen oxides in Santa Barbara County.

“Few people realize that ships off our coast, especially those moving at faster speeds, are a risk to endangered whales and the quality of the air we breathe,” said Kristi Birney of the Environmental Defense Center.

“Reducing ship speeds to 12 knots or less reduces emissions of smog-forming air pollutants that harm our health,” said Dave Van Mullem, director, Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. “We are pleased to be part of this partnership to achieve common goals, and excited about the potential for improving air quality in our county.”

“Slowing ships down reduces the likelihood that a ship strike on a whale will be fatal,” said Chris Mobley, superintendent, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. “We are extremely pleased with the positive response from the shipping industry to test non-regulatory, innovative approaches to protect human health and the marine environment while maintaining vibrant maritime commerce.”

The program has funding to support 16 transits and the initial response has been extremely positive. The coalition received more than 25 ship transit requests to be included in the trial and is seeking additional funding to expand the trial.

Maersk Line representative, Dr. Lee Kindberg, Director, Environment & Sustainability, North America, added, “The Santa Barbara Channel program is a logical extension of our other environmental initiatives. We appreciate this opportunity to help demonstrate the environmental and operational impacts of speed reductions in sensitive areas.”

The vessel speed program is supported by local and national foundations. The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will manage the incentive payments with funding from the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. Payments will be provided upon verification of the ships’ speeds through the Channel, using Automatic Identification System monitors that receive speed and location data from the transponders on ships as they transit.

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(Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)