Maersk Line merges Singapore and Hong Kong offices, HQ in Hong Kong

SINGAPORE - Maersk Line, the world's top container shipping company, has merged its Singapore and Hong Kong regional offices.

Hong Kong is now headquarters for the combined operations, while the Singapore outlet is a country cluster office overseeing the shipping line's business in South-east Asia.

The company expects to boost staff strength here as a result.

As part of re-organisation efforts, Maersk has reduced the number of its regional offices from eight to seven by merging its Asia Pacific (South East Asia and Oceania) and North Asia regions.

"The regional responsibility for Asia Pacific will be in the combined Asia Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong," the company said in a statement to The Straits Times.

Previously, its Hong Kong office oversaw operations in North Asia, comprising mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

The existing regional management team in Hong Kong will remain and oversee a larger geography, the company added.

"The merger of the regions is line with internal re-organisation of the company," said a spokesman.

"Combining the two regions will enable simpler and more standardised processes. This will allow us to create a leaner organisation to operate with greater transparency and alignment on a regional, as well as cluster (sub-regional) level."

The company's office here will oversee Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia and Myanmar.

This means there will be more jobs based here as a bigger management team is being set up to head the South-East Asia cluster, Maersk said.

"We have been operating in Singapore since 1975 and Singapore remains of strategic importance to the entire Maersk group."

The company has investments of more than US$12 billion here and is one of the largest shipowners in Singapore with around 130 vessels and rigs under the Singapore flag.

Its South-east Asia cluster is now headed by Mr Bo Wegener, previously the country manager for Thailand and Myanmar.

Mr Lars Mikael Jensen, Maersk Line's chief executive for Asia Pacific, will return to the company's headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, to take up a management position within the operations department. He will be taking on his new role from Feb 1.

Last November, Maersk announced plans to reduce its network capacity and postpone investments in new capacity to cope with the worst slump in the industry since the financial crisis in 2009.

It also said it will cut 4,000 jobs from its land-based staff of 23,000 by 2017.