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Safmarine Container Lines is a global shipping company based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The company offers a wide range of container shipping and related logistics management services in 130 countries around the world. The firm, as it operates today, represents a merger of Safmarine from South Africa and CMB-T, a Belgium based shipping conglomerate. The AP Moller-Maersk Group of Denmark acquired the merged entity in 1999 as part of a strategy to widen its global footprint. Safmarine Container Lines currently operates as a fully owned subsidiary of the Maersk Group.
A major portion of Safemarine’s operations is focused on transporting cargo between Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East. The company also offers several trade routes between Africa and ports in North and South America and the Mediterranean countries. The company specializes in shipping a wide range of commodities like cocoa, coffee and tea. It also offers specialized services for transporting a wide variety of chilled and frozen foods to destinations around the world.
Safmarine’s fleet of 65 container ships range from relatively small vessels to large modern ships that are equipped to carry a wide range of cargoes. The smallest vessel in the company’s fleet has a capacity of around 660 twenty foot containers, while its largest vessels can carry over 6,000 containers at a time. A vast majority of the company’s fleet though comprises of mid-size vessels that are capable of ferrying between 2,100 to 2,500 containers per load.
Niche Provider of Break Bulk Services
In addition to Safmarine’s core container business, the company also operates as a niche provider of break bulk cargo shipping services. The shipping firm currently operates about half-a-dozen multipurpose vessels in West Africa. The vessels are equipped to handle both container cargo and break bulk items. The company is hoping to carve out a niche in this space by positioning itself as a provider of fast and flexible tramp shipping services between various ports in West Africa.
Revenues and Earnings
The Copenhagen shipper last year recorded revenues of slightly over $3.5 billion according to a Safmarine Container Lines review by Hoover’s magazine. Though overall revenues were higher than the previous year, the shipper had a loss of over $500 million in 2012 according to the Safmarine review by Hoovers.