Maersk (Maersk) announces Maersk Air Cargo as the company´s main air freight offering serving the logistics needs of its clients with integrated logistics.

At the same time Maersk chooses Denmark’s second largest airport, Billund, as its air freight hub for Maersk Air Cargo with daily flights creating several jobs in the region. To this end Maersk Air Cargo also announces their intent to enter into an agreement with the Flight Personnel Union (FPU) which is a part of the Danish Confederation and Trade Unions (FH).

“Air freight is a crucial enabler of flexibility and agility in global supply chains as it allows our customers to tackle time-critical supply chain challenges and provides transport mode options for high value cargo. We strongly believe in working closely with our customers. Therefore, it is key for Maersk to also increase our presence in the global air cargo industry by introducing Maersk Air Cargo to cater even better for the needs of our customers.”

Aymeric Chandavoine,

Singapore’s contaminated fuel outbreak is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars and keep lawyers busy for years to come.

Fuel tester VPS has confirmed a total of 60 high sulphur fuel oil-consuming (HSFO) ships have been hit, with the fuel found to be contaminated with chlorinated hydrocarbons. All 60 ships bunkered with just two fuel suppliers in Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering hub, from a total of 12 delivery barges in a timeframe from mid-February to mid-March. In total VPS has identified 140,170 tonnes of contaminated fuel worth some $120m.

Malcolm Cooper, CEO of VPS, advised yesterday that the contaminated fuel remains in the supply chain and could potentially be reused or re-blended for use as a bunker fuel.

“The best mitigating measure to prevent the risk of receiving and using this fuel, is to test at the point of bunkering,” Cooper said, adding that standard ISO 8217 test methods are not sufficient to detect these contamination events.

VPS is recommending gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) screening as the most effective method of detecting chemical contaminants in bunker fuel including chlorinated hydrocarbons.

Jonathan Arneault, co-founder of another bunker checker, FuelTrust, compared the unfolding fuel scandal in Singapore to the one in Houston in 2018.

“Four years later, the lawsuits from Houston are still ongoing, and we’re just realising the financial impact that a single batch of bad fuel can have on the industry,” Arneault said.

Dr Ram Vis, a bunkering expert and owner of Viswa Labs, echoed the VPS call to use technology to better document and analyse risk in the supply chain.

“The current bunker quality problems give a feeling of déjà vu from an organic chlorides contamination in 2001, and more recently what we saw in Houston four years ago,” Vis said.

Splash first reported on the contaminated fuel issue in Singapore on March 9 including details of a number of ships losing power as a result of the poor fuel quality.

P&I club Skuld revealed in a recent update that it has recently received an increased number of P&I and hull claims related to HSFO stemmed at Singapore and which were found to be contaminated with chlorinated compounds resulting in damage to fuel injection pumps, injectors, filter elements and purifier systems.

“Organic Chlorides are not naturally present in crude sources and their presence in marine fuels is a cause of concern,” Skuld stated.

©Sam Chambers

Global Head of Logistics and Services, A.P. Moller – Maersk

Maersk’s owned controlled capacity, powered by Maersk Air Cargo, is designed to make supply chain journeys more resilient and intuitive. As a standalone service, Maersk Air Freight can help customers make the most of opportunities by getting their air cargo to the right place at the right time. When combined with our ocean, inland, warehousing and customs services it will power your supply chain in more ways than one.

The new air freight company is the result of the existing in-house aircraft operator, Star Air, which has transferred activities into Maersk Air Cargo, the new carrier supporting existing and new customers and Maersk’s end to end logistics. The process of transferring activities has received excellent support from customers, suppliers, employees and the Danish Civil Aviation Authority.

“Maersk Air Cargo is an important step of the Maersk Air Freight strategy, as it will allow us to offer customers a truly unique combination of air freight integrated with other transport modes. We see an increased and continued demand for air cargo both today and going forward as well as a growing demand for end-to-end logistics, why it is important for us to strengthen our own-controlled capacity and advance further on our air freight strategy.”

Torben Bengtsson, Global Head of Air & LCL (Less than Container Load), A.P. Moller – Maersk

Maersk last operated from Billund in 2005. From the continent Maersk Air Cargo will progressively deploy and operate a controlled capacity of five aircraft – two new B777F and three leased B767-300 cargo aircraft. Three new B767-300 freighters will also be added to the US-China operation, which will be initially handled by a third-party operator. The new aircraft are expected to be operational from second half 2022 and onwards up to 2024.

Billund Airport looks forward to welcoming Maersk Air Cargo, which will also support the growth of the West Danish business community.

“We have had growth, defied the corona and set a new record year in cargo in 2021. It does not happen without good partners, and we do what we can to make our partners good. Now Maersk Air Cargo enters the stage at Billund Airport and raises it a notch. We are incredibly proud that we are being chosen as Maersk’s European hub for air freight, and we look forward to developing the collaboration to even new heights.”

Jan Hessellund, CEO of Billund Airport

Maersk’s ambition is to have approximately one third of its annual air tonnage carried within its own controlled freight network. This will be achieved through a combination of owned and leased aircraft, replicating the structure that the company has within its ocean fleet. The remaining capacity will be provided by strategic commercial carriers and charter flight operators.

Maersk Air Cargo is expected to be fully operational as of second half of 2022.