Maersk Line has about 120 ships under the Singapore flag, the most after 180 in Denmark, Thomas Knudsen, president of the company’s Asia Pacific region, said in an interview. Additions to Singapore have come at the expense of Hong Kong, where the company now has about 40, he said.
“There’s a maritime cluster around Singapore where you have access to pretty much all the different aspects of shipping,” Knudsen said. “The last five years we have really cleaned up to concentrate on fewer flags to get the economy of scale. You can definitely get lower cost if you go to Panama or Liberia, but we feel that Singapore is a good combination of cost and quality.”
Consolidating the fleet to fewer flags is helping Copenhagen-based Maersk lower costs to weather an industry slowdown. Container lines globally have reduced speeds of ships to reduce fuel consumption and over capacity and mothballed older vessels as falling worldwide consumer demand stints cargo volumes.
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