By Dominic Chopping
A.P. Moeller-Maersk AS on Friday launched a new air-freight business unit, as it looks to boost its presence in the air-cargo industry amid an expected increase in demand.
Maersk Air Cargo will use Danish airport Billund as its hub and will offer daily flights, feeding into the wider group's existing logistics network and shoring up supply chains, the company said.
Maersk has been embarking on a strategy to become an integrated full-service logistics provider and had previously highlighted ambitions to become a considerable player in the air-freight industry.
It currently operates a fleet of 15 aircraft through its Star Air cargo airline, and last year it announced plans to add three leased cargo planes in 2022 while also purchasing two new Boeing aircraft to be deployed by 2024.
Star Air's activities are now transferred into the new Maersk Air Cargo unit, the company said.
"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," Torben Bengtsson, head of Maersk's air and less-than-container-load unit, said.
"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, [which is] why it is important for us to strengthen our own-controlled capacity and advance further on our air freight strategy."
Maersk's ambition is to have approximately a third of its annual air tonnage carried within its own controlled freight network, with the remaining capacity provided by strategic commercial carriers and charter flight operators, it said.
Maersk Air Cargo is expected to be fully operational starting in the second half of 2022.
Write to Dominic Chopping at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 08, 2022 04:16 ET (08:16 GMT)Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.