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Volvo Ocean Race: Taking a fresh look at the humble container

With its design perfectly adapted to provide optimal space and stacking ability, you’d be forgiven for thinking that not much could be done to the humble shipping container.  But the Volvo Ocean Race village was the perfect opportunity to put an established technology to a new use.

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The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the most extreme sailing races in the world. Maersk Line is the proud partner of the race as well as the leading team – the Dongfeng Race team. In some of the stop-overs around the world – we bring a special made pavilion. The Maersk Line pavilion consists of 6 FFE’s (forty foot high cube containers) and is equipped with a viewing balcony, numerous lounge areas and roof deck providing the perfect vantage point of the race village and ships.

The pavilion, with its simple Scandinavian design aesthetic has been host to a number of customers, employees and students interested in a maritime career.

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‘We’ve had a fantastic reaction to our pavilion’ says Maersk Line’s General Manager of Events and Sponsorships, Simone Holm. ‘For our customers and the public, the Maersk Line pavilion is a great place to meet and discuss all the drama and excitement of the race.’

What happens when containers retire?

When a person turns 18, he or she is on the cusp of true adulthood and ready to take on the challenges of life. However, when a container turns 18, it is no longer regarded as ‘young’ – in fact 18 years is the official age of retirement from ‘active service’ when it comes to Maersk Line containers and reefers.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t use these containers anymore; it merely means that they move on from being constantly lifted, shoved and carried in ports all over the world to serving a variety of different purposes, which are not the ones Maersk Line used them for.


Every year, thousands of used Maersk Line containers and reefers ‘retire’ and are no longer in circuit for their main purpose. In Maersk Line, the sale of used containers is a business area in itself. In the Used Container Sales business, a team of experts serve customers all over the world who are involved in depot services, container renovation and re-engineering, as well as the purchasing and onward selling of various types of containers.

Offices across the globe

“The area of selling our used containers and reefer is developing. We have 10 satellite sales offices, which can literally cater to any demand in the world, “says Equipment Sales Manager Kamilla Sultanova who is based in Helsinki, Finland. “It’s a huge advantage for us in Maersk Line that we already have a very large established global network. This means we can both easily access big stocks of containers and have the systems in place to deliver the containers,” says Sultanova.

If you want to know more about Maersk Line Used Container Sales please visit the website www.maerskline.com/containersales.

Maersk McKinney Moller crosses 18,000 TEU containers: Sets the world record.

Maersk McKinney Moller – Maersk Line’s iconic Triple E created a record of sailing with the record load of 18,168 TEU from the port of Algeciras, Spain. The ship is now en route to Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia.

With this, Maersk McKinney Moller becomes the first vessel to have sailed with over 18,000 TEUs and breaks the previous record set by Mary Maersk that also sailed from Algeciras with 17,603 TEU.


Niels Vestergaard Pedersen, Captain of Maersk McKinney Moller commented, “Personally I am both very proud, and humbled, to be the Captain of the iconic Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, and to be the first vessel to cross the 18,000 TEU limit. All crew members have shared their excitement with cameras, questions, and of course a lot of planning and calculations.” Stowage on a Triple-E can prove to be an exciting challenge and Maersk McKinney Moller loaded the 11th tier as it crossed the 18,000 TEU mark. “It is not an easy task to fill up a vessel like this. It is difficult to make a record like this, with a few people pushing, and many highlighting the risks. It is 100% team work all over the line, and a lot of planning and thoughts had been done” adds Captain Niels Vestergaard Pedersen.

A Triple-E vessel loaded to full capacity would invariably mean positive environmental impact. The Triple-E can transport 2,500 more containers than Maersk’s E-class ships – while using 20 percent less fuel and cutting CO2 emissions by 20 percent, thereby making it more energy efficient as a choice.

Maersk McKinney Moller is iconic as it was the first of the Maersk Triple-E vessels and has been named after Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller (1913-2012), the global shipping leader and the son of A.P. Moller, founder of Maersk Group.

Meat the man who plans your protein

The next time you sit down for a steak or a rack of lamb consider this – the transport of your dinner has been meticulously planned by Morten Klose, Head of Proteins for Maersk Line’s Reefer business unit.

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‘There is an exact science behind transporting protein’ says Morten.  ‘Considering the fat content of the meat, zero degrees isn’t necessarily the freezing point. Beef for example, is shipped at minus 1 degree but lambs needs to be shipped at minus 1.7.’

The need for reliability is not lost on Morten. For example, shipping Easter Lamb from New Zealand to Europe is a meticulous affair. ‘Customers want the lamb to arrive in the supermarkets approximately a week before Easter when the lamb prices are at a premium. If our shipment is delayed by a week and our customers miss the Easter window, this significantly affects the price that our customers can get for the goods’ says Morten.

Morten is the kind of guy that thrives on a dynamic work environment. ‘Current tensions between Russia and the West has significantly impacted global reefer trade’ says Morten. Russia used to import significantly from the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia but we have seen the global shifting of trading partners and now Russia is looking at new suppliers in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and China. Similarly, Russia’s former suppliers have also been looking for new suppliers and found them in Asia and West Africa.

Morten is sceptical that we will see a reversal of these new trading partners in the future citing his belief that Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin will not likely want to become dependent on the West for a valuable commodity such as protein.


Maersk Line Reefers – Bringing freshness to your table

One out of every four reefer containers at sea is filled with either Bananas or Pineapples. With such staggering volumes, Raul Saca, Director, Reefer Sales at Maersk Line speaks about what factors are influencing global trade.

Having spent his entire careers working with bananas, pineapples and the complexities of shipping them around the world, it’s safe to say that Raul Saca is an expert on seasonal fruits. ‘Latin America, in particular Ecuador is a huge market for us accounting for 75% of the world banana exports’ says Raul. ‘The Philippines is another important market with 20-25% of export volumes.’

Despite these figures, the world’s largest producers of bananas are India, China and Brazil says Raul. ‘But that’s not where the export markets are. All the produce is consumed locally; in fact China imports bananas from the Philippines.’

‘Bananas and pineapples account for 10-15% of Maersk Line’s reefer business which is clearly a significant portion’ says Raul.  According to Raul, our customers appreciate Maersk Line’s reliability, equipment availability and our on-time delivery commitments.

“Staying on top of the latest innovation is just as important to our customers as is reliability”, says Raul. Like all living creatures, fruit and vegetables breathe. And they ripen in the process. Fruit and vegetables also emit a hormone called ethylene, which speeds up ripening.

Maersk Container Industry’s StarCare refrigerated containers allows shippers to maintain the right temperature (14 degrees for bananas) while also regulating oxygen, CO2 and ethylene levels to delay the ripening process.

With the bananas effectively asleep, this extends the length of the voyage in which they can be shipped to 50 days, about 15 more than allowed by competing technology and break bulk carriers.