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Expanding Customs Brokerage Business Is A Global Initiative Says Maersk

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Maersk expects to grow its customs house brokerage business both through acquisition and organically. Credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves.

Maersk expects to grow its customs house brokerage business both through acquisition and organically. Credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves.

Maersk said that it will be looking for more market opportunities to develop its customs brokerage business further, following the acquisition of Vandergrift Inc., which was announced yesterday, February 12.

Based in Denmark, Maersk is the world's largest shipping company. It plans to transform itself from a quay-to-quay operation into a modern integrated supply chain, using new technology to help define the logistics service it will develop.

Acquiring the customs brokerage house Vandergrift is a step along that path and Maersk confirmed to FreightWaves today that it is looking to strengthen its customs brokerage capabilities "in select markets," and focusing on organic growth in other regions, without specifying precisely where. The company also said it would look to invest in and strengthen existing systems.

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Jeff Hammond, Maersk's Global Head of Customs House Brokerage, is based in Charlotte, North Carolina (USA). He said, "Vandegrift brings a number of service capabilities that are in high demand from Maersk customers. These include trade consulting, duty drawback and Free Trade Zone (FTZ) expertise.

Hammond believes that the acquisition of Vandergrift will allow Maersk to offer customers efficiencies of scale and a higher quality operating model. "We are adding more Licensed Customs Brokers, trade consulting/compliance expertise, duty drawback, FTZ services, etc.  Equally important, Vandegrift has invested heavily in technology which delivers in best-in- class visibility tools to help customers manage their international trade activities." Vandergrift's customer visibility tool allows a paperless internal workflow.

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Technological expertise at Vandergrift will be developed across Maersk's business lines and made available to all its customers, added Hammond.

Vandegrift's cumulative expertise complements Maersk's current business by broadening its customs house advisory role to its customers. That allows the company to offer a "wider scope of services and the larger capacity brokerage that our North America customers are looking for," explained Hammond.

Hammond said the acquisition is significant because it broadens the range of services Maersk can offer. However, he added that Maersk will make more investments in technology to further its capabilities and services.

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