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Maritime News

The Worlds Biggest Container Shipping Line Is Now Worried About Amazon and Alibaba

The world’s biggest container shipping line is trying to stop customers like Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. from becoming competitors in just a few years’ time.

“Amazon is a threat if we don’t do a good job for them,” Soren Skou, the Chief Executive Officer of A.P. Moller Maersk A/S, said in a phone interview. “If we don’t do our job well, then there’s no doubt that big, strong companies like Amazon will look into whether they can do better themselves.”

Shares of FedEx Corp. and UPS Inc. dropped last week on a report that Amazon plans to handle more deliveries to its customers’ doorsteps. The question the maritime industry is now asking itself is to what extent the online retailer will also try to take greater control of transportation of shipments bound for Amazon warehouses. For now, those tend to be handled by Maersk and companies like it.

“Amazon is not interested in phones and email — they want to be hooked up electronically and digitally so the business transacts on its own,” Skou said. “This matches our new strategy: they want end-to-end container shipping and we want to offer the whole service.”

The Copenhagen-based company has already come a long way. In 2014, it took more than 2 hours to complete a container booking at Maersk. In 2016, the average was 22 minutes, and management wants to bring that down to as little as 2 minutes this year.

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