A.P. Moller – Maersk strengthens global Air Freight offering

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A.P. Moller - Maersk

A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) has announced the intended acquisition of Senator International, a well-renowned global freight forwarding company with a strong air freight offering. Furthermore, to expand its own controlled air network, Maersk is adding aircraft to its operations: three leased cargo planes to be operational from 2022 and two newbuilding Boeing aircraft to be deployed by 2024.

Air freight is a crucial enabler of flexibility and agility in global supply chains as it allows companies to tackle time-critical supply chain challenges and provides transport mode options for high-value cargo. To better cater to customers’ needs, Maersk aims to increase its global air cargo industry presence.

To accelerate its product offering, which integrates Logistics, Ocean, Rail and Air and expands its global air network, Maersk intends to acquire Senator International, a renowned operational air freight platform of self-controlled capacity and operations across Europe, Asia, South Africa, and America. In addition, Maersk is purchasing two new B777F and leasing three B767-300 cargo planes. To operate and manage this added capacity, the cargo airline Star Air – the internal air cargo operation of Maersk established in 1987 – will become a key vehicle supporting Maersk’s logistics offering.

“As a global provider of integrated logistics, Maersk is improving the ability to provide a one-stop-shop and end-to-end logistics capabilities to our customers. We have strengthened our integrated logistics offering through E-commerce logistics acquisitions, tech investments, expanding our warehouse footprint and, as a natural next step, we are now ramping up our air freight capacity significantly and creating a broader network to cater even better for the needs of customers,” said Vincent Clerc, Executive Vice President and CEO of Ocean & Logistics, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Joining forces with Senator to create a strong air platform

Senator has built a renowned airfreight operation centred around self-controlled capacity using nineteen weekly flights across its network. In addition, Senator operates a significant part of their business through a dedicated air bridge with self-controlled capacity and ensuring a high service level for its customers. This focus on self-controlled capacity is highly aligned with Maersk’s air freight strategy.

“Founded by my father Uwe Kirschbaum in 1984, Senator has grown to a sizable global freight forwarder. Our employees have always delivered first-class services to our valued customers. Senator’s self-controlled air product started in 2016 and has proven to be a success story. Our customers honour our reliability – particularly in challenging times during the pandemic. By joining Maersk, we strongly believe that we will be able to deliver an even broader portfolio with self-controlled air capacity and other modes of transportation. Senator’s customers and team will love it,” said Tim-Oliver Kirschbaum, CEO and shareholder at Senator.

The German company brings a technology advantage with its Cargo Wise One core operating platform, a cutting-edge yet easy-to-use single system that will accelerate the integration with Maersk’s Air and LCL (Less than Container Load) products.

The transaction’s enterprise value on a post-IFRS 16 basis is approximately USD 644m which, based on Pro-forma adjusted 2021 EBITDA, corresponds to a multiple of 8.0x. The transaction is subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and is expected to close in H1 2022.

Maersk’s ambition is to have approximately one-third of its annual air tonnage carried within its self-controlled freight network. This will be achieved through a combination of owned and leased aircraft, replicating the company’s structure within its ocean fleet. The remaining capacity will be provided by strategic commercial carriers and charter flight operators.

Star Air, Maersk´s air operator

As an in-house aircraft operator, Star Air will operate and maintain owned and leased aircraft for Maersk while operating air cargo for its current customers. As an integral part of building the self-controlled air capacity, Star Air has purchased two new B777 Freighters to be delivered by Boeing in 2024 and leased three B767-300 Freighters, which will be operational next year through Cargo Aircraft Management, the leasing arm of ATSG.

“We are delighted to welcome Star Air to the Boeing family of 777 operators, and we look forward to many years of partnership as they continue to grow their air cargo division. The market-leading efficiency and incredible range of the 777 Freighter will provide Maersk with the flexibility to profitably operate the aeroplane across its large air freight network while helping to deliver on its sustainability objectives,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing.

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