A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, owner of the world’s biggest container-shipping company, plans to add more vessels to its Singapore base after making the city-state its biggest hub after the headquarters in Denmark.
Maersk has about 120 ships under the Singapore flag, the most after 180 in Denmark, Thomas Knudsen, president of the Maersk Line Asia Pacific region, said in an interview. Additions to Singapore have come at the expense of Hong Kong, where the company now has about 40, he said.
“There’s a maritime cluster around Singapore where you have access to pretty much all the different aspects of shipping,” Knudsen said. “The last five years we have really cleaned up to concentrate on fewer flags to get the economy of scale. You can definitely get lower costs if you go to Panama or Liberia, but we feel that Singapore is a good combination of cost and quality.”
Most of the new vessels Maersk Line will receive, will fly under the island-city’s flag, Knudsen said in Singapore, without elaborating. Maersk, due to take delivery of the world’s biggest container ship in June, will register that vessel under the Danish flag, Knudsen said. The ship will be able to carry 18,000 twenty-foot-equivalent boxes at a time.
Singapore is also close to new markets for the company. Last month, Maersk Line shipped a container box filled with seafood from Myanmar to the U.S., the first time in about a decade, Knudsen said. The shipping company also plans to open its own agency in the Southeast Asian nation in the second half as trade demand is expected to increase after U.S. sanctions were lifted in 2012.