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Maersk marks 80 years of Asian service

Maersk marks 80 years of Asian service

Singapore: Maersk hosted special celebrations this week to mark the 80th anniversary of the first liner service connecting the US and Asia, including an event in Singapore addressed by Jesper Praestensgaard, Maersks' chief executive for Southeast Asia.

Praestensgaard recalled how the inaugural shipment back in July 1928 carried aboard steamship Leise Maersk consisted of Ford car parts and other general cargo. Today Maersk has grown to be the leading liner company operating a fleet of over 500 container vessels and more than 1.9 million containers. With over 100,000 customers globally, Maersk Line's extensive network, with more than 325 offices in 125 countries, is supported by over 30,000 employees, he said.

Turning to Emma Maersk and her seven sisters, generally regarded as the world's largest container vessels, Praestensgaard said they set new standards for economical, safe, and environmentally friendly shipping. He noted that such economies of scale had brought down shipping costs to USD 10 to transport a bicycle from Asia to Europe, USD 18 for a washing machine, USD 0.22 for a T-shirt and USD 0.73 for a pair of jeans - the price of a stamp.

Praestensgaard who has spent some 16 years in Asia, said the challenges facing the region are the same as those being grappled with internationally. These include rising costs, the environmental impact of shipping and the cyclical nature of the industry. He said he felt the container business would come come under pressure for the rest of the year and perhaps for a couple of years to come.  [17/07/08]